Schools reopening dates for exam classes set

Sindiso Mhlophe

THE government has set schools reopening dates for Cambridge and Zimsec examination classes at September 14 and 28 respectively, the Daily News reports.

Schools were closed in March, shortly before President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed a national coronavirus lockdown. Cases of the deadly disease have since surpassed 5 000 although the rate of infection is going down.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare last night, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said relevant stakeholders, including teachers’ unions and schools’ trusts, were consulted before setting the dates for the reopening of schools for examination classes.
“Regarding Primary and Secondary Education, Cabinet notes that based on on-going consultations with relevant stakeholders in that sector, the ministry is continuing with its preparations for the reopening of schools for the end of year 2020 final examination classes.
“Fifteen stakeholders have submitted their inputs and another nine are expected to make their submissions shortly.
Among those that were invited for inputs on the reopening of schools are the following: the Zimbabwe Visually Impaired Teachers’ Union and nine other teachers’ unions, the parliamentary portfolio committee on Education, the Association of School Development Committees, the Independent Colleges in Zimbabwe, the Private Schools Association of Zimbabwe, and the Association of Trust Schools,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The schools opening dates are scheduled for September 14, 2020 for Cambridge examinations classes and September 28, 2020 for Zimsec examination classes.
“Cabinet approved that the Zimsec Examinations should start on December 1, 2020.
“The ministry is working closely with other ministries and stakeholders to guarantee the safety of pupils and staff during the examinations period. Standard operating procedures have been distributed to all schools,” she added.
This comes as teachers’ unions, including the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), have said that they would not return to work if the government reopened schools without reviewing their salaries, adding that the government was making critical decisions about reopening schools without consulting the educators.
Education minister Cain Mathema said the government had consulted all stakeholders and had ensured that necessary conditions, including the acquisition of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitisers, were in place for the reopening of schools.
Speaking at the same briefing, Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also the chairperson of the Covid-19 national taskforce, revealed that the government had disbursed US$20 million to the Health ministry for the acquisition of 220 000 test kits.
This comes as the country has been experiencing shortages of Covid-19 test kits, resulting in the reduction of the number of tests being conducted on a daily basis.

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