Government has made important strides in ensuring that schools are safe for learners and teachers and re-open safely without risking a spike in Covid-19 infections.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, communication and advocacy officer Mr Taungana Ndoro said the availed budget of $600 million for schools to procure personal protective equipment is sufficient to improve sanitation in schools.
“Government supplied PPEs to schools last year and we are still paying for the supply. The PPEs are still in large quantities in schools and there is no need to buy more in some of the schools,” he said.
Mr Ndoro said some of the money was used to drill boreholes and to rehabilitate others.
He implored teachers to report for duty on Monday next week while their grievances were being addressed.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu however contended that the availed budget for schools was not enough to support the acquisition of PPEs and other essentials needed in schools hence there was need to avail another budget to address outstanding issues.
“The money is little. A lot needs to be done and schools in rural areas are lagging behind in terms of PPEs. They do not have resources so they need support,” said Dr Ndlovu.
He however encouraged teachers to report for duty on Monday while issues of salaries were being addressed.
“We want to continue putting in strategies that will motivate both the learner and teacher so we can go to work while Government is addressing our concerns.
Ms Belinda Rupapa, a parent said she was excited to see her children going back to school because Covid-19 had hampered efforts to access quality education.
“We are humbly asking teachers to work with the little available resources because the future of our children depends on them’’, said Ms Rupapa.
Countries across the globe are gradually re-opening or planning for the re-opening of schools after several months of closure to curb the spread of the virus.
Protecting the physical and mental health of students, teachers and school personnel and preparing for a potential viral resurgence remain the top concerns.
School closures have brought a major disruption in children’s lives, affecting their socio-emotional development and well-being, as well as their social life and relationships at school.
One critical condition to re-opening is to ensure a safe return to physical premises, implementing infection control measures such as physical distancing and respiratory and hand hygiene measures in school premises and transport.
A total of $600 million has been set aside by the Government for disbursement to needy schools to improve sanitation and enable them to re-open safely without risking a spike in Covid-19 infections.
This is part of a raft of measures, informed by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, that authorities have put in place ahead of the full reopening of schools.
The money is targeted for allocation to schools in all the provinces, with priority being given to those with less capacity to ensure the safety of school children and staff.