3 June schools reopening shrouded in scepticism

20 May 2020 | Education

OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

The education ministry’s announcement that schools will reopen next month has been met with scepticism.

Ministry executive director Sanet Steemkamp yesterday announced that schools would reopen on 3 June using a phased approached, with senior learners set to get back behind their desks first.

However, the Trade Union Congress of Namibia president Mahongora Kavihuha has questioned whether the ministry is adequately prepared.

“We are becoming sceptical whether some measures will be adhered to. Some schools have not even received funding for cleaning,” he said.

Worried

“We are worried, schools which were earmarked to get funding have not received funding yet,” Kavihuha added.

He encouraged the ministry to take the necessary precautions to protect the health of learners, and urged that learners displaying flu-like symptoms be kept from returning to school until they were better.

Meanwhile, Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) secretary-general Loide Shaanika said the ministry must make sure that schools which do not have the necessary facilities had these in place when the school year resumes.

“We have schools that do not have ablution facilities and potable water,” she said.

Appoint more teachers

Another measure to ensure the safety of learners was the appointment of additional teachers in overcrowded schools, Shaanika said.

She added that Nantu agreed that schools be opened for grades 11 and 12, as it was critical for these learners to complete the schooling year.

Return schedule

With grades categorised into phases and Phase 1, grades 11 and 12, set to resume face-to-face schooling on 3 June, pre-primary to grade three learners (Phase 2) will be back in the classroom on 22 June.

Phase 3, grades seven and nine, will resume schooling on 6 July, while Phase 4 (grades four to eight, and grade 10) will make their return on 20 July.

All grades will conclude the school year on 18 December, the ministry announced.

“The ministry, together with the regional directorates of education, schools, parents, other stakeholders and the community at large, will make sure all resources at its disposal are available to ensure that the safety of learners is prioritised and ensured, as far as possible, at schools,” Steenkamp said.

The ministry also announced that teachers would be allowed a mid-term break from 22 to 29 May.

“The revised school calendar with the ministerial guidelines on the re-opening of schools will still be communicated,” Steenkamp said.

Schools had been closed since 14 March in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

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