The Ministry of Education Science and Technology will on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, engage stakeholders in the education sector to discuss plans on reopening of schools amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Briefing the media in Blantyre today, Principal Secretary Justin Saidi said a lot needs to be considered before reopening the schools to ensure both students and teachers are protected from the pandemic.
Among the stakeholders to be consulted include; Civil Society Education Coalition (Cisec), Independent Schools Association of Malawi (Isama) and Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM).
“We plan to meet these stakeholders to map the way forward on this issue. We are aware of the need for students to go back to school. However, we are also aware of how congested our schools are and how it can impact on the spread of this pandemic. We need to brainstorm on the safety of our learners and precautionary measures to be followed and whether we are ready to open,” said Saidi.
He further said the Ministry is also planning to start distribution of tablets in rural areas to ensure equitable access to e-learning by all.
According to Ruth Samati, director for Secondary and Higher Education, the Ministry is also printing modules and plans to introduce remedial classes when schools open to make sure students are on the same level.
Asked on why schools remain closed while political gatherings are being condoned in the country, Samati said “going to a rally is a choice, if they get infected they will have no one to blame but by asking students to go back to school, the Ministry is making choices for the students therefore, the responsibility of ensuring the safety of those students and their teachers lies upon the Ministry.
During the briefing Saidi also disclosed that the National Council of Higher Education (Nche) has finished selection of students for the country’s public universities on merit as approved by government.
Saidi said public universities are now finalizing the process and the selected names will soon be released to the public.
“What we want is that as we wait for the schools to reopen, students should start preparing in advance and those who will require loans from loans board should start making applications in advance,” he said.
Nche chief executive officer Ignasio Malizani Jimu said the council in collaboration with a Technical Working Group which comprises deputy vice chancellors from Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) and University of Malawi, University registrars and Deans made the harmonized selection of the students with special consideration on gender and disability.
In February this year, government abolished the quota system of selecting students into public universities to start implementing harmonised selection of the students.