Varsities, colleges to open next month

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UNIVERSITIES and colleges will open full throttle next month with other not writing attending classes physically, Higher Education minister Amon Murwira said.
This comes as schools have set July 28 as their opening date.
Speaking before the parliamentary portfolio committee for Higher Education, Murwira said tertiary institutions have started to open in phases.
“The ministry has requested Treasury for budgetary support of $63 million for facilitating implementation of e-learning in tertiary institutions.
“Five polytechnics and nine teachers’ colleges have contributed to the Covid-19 pandemic emergency response by being designated as national Covid-19 quarantine centres for returning residents. However, there are no more returnees being admitted at these centres and the colleges are currently being fumigated in preparation for the gradual starting in July 2020,” Murwira said.

Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira

Murwira said all foreign students are required to be tested for Covid-19 and be certified Covid-19-free in their respective countries of origin and they shall also be tested upon arrival in Zimbabwe.
“It is important to note that the ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has been pursuing online learning and preparations to scale-up online learning started way back in February 2020 before the lockdown was announced.
“Consequently, universities and colleges started opening using blended learning, a combination of both online learning and face-to-face learning on the 1st June 2020.  Students should return to campus in phases using the logic of final year students alternating with fourth, third year students, second year and then first year students. However, opening is determined by the state of preparedness of the university.”
According to Murwira, students have set aside hostels for quarantining students who present high temperature and require urgent immediate medical attention.

“Universities have pegged an affordable low accommodation rate of $1 000 per student per semester in order to encourage all students to stay in campus accommodation as they complete the first semester during the phased reopening.”

He said students must receive sanitisers, all hostels are fumigated and students’ temperatures will be taken.
Murwira said the size of classes must be reduced to 50 students and students’ affairs departments must track all students who stay off-campus.

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