The National Planning Taskforce on Covid-19, Education Sector has recommended that schools, colleges and universities should re-open on July 13 2020 following consultations with various stakeholders.
A statement issued yesterday signed by the committee’s chairperson Lewis Dzimbiri observes that the decision has been arrived at following meetings that have been taking place to come up with strategies and conditions for a safe re-opening.
It reads in part: “The task force has recommended to the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus, that all schools, colleges and universities be re-opened on 13th July, 2020 with specific details and conditions for the re-opening to be announced later after the task force has finalised the consultations.”
It further states that in making the recommendation, the committee also looked at global and regional trends to draw lessons on how safe re-opening is being managed in other countries.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology formed a task force to map the way forward on the reopening schools which were closed on March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology William Susuwele Banda could not comment on the statement yesterday, saying he had not yet seen it.
In an interview yesterday, Dzimbiri said the task force will come up with guidelines that will be announced before the reopening of schools in the country.
He said: “The calendar will be in such a way that the normal school calendar is not affected much. However, we are still consulting the public on how best we can tackle the challenges to ensure safety of students.”
Meanwhile, education expert Steve Sharra has commended the task force for the ample announcement, saying it will give parents enough time to prepare their children to return to school.
He said: “Planning for the future of education in Malawi will need to take coronavirus into long-term consideration. We need to develop educational materials that will allow teaching and learning when disruptions such as this happen.”
On his part, Civil Society Education Coalition director Benedicto Kondowe suggested that it would be better for schools to re-open in September to avoid changing the school calendar.