• August 3rd, 2020

Nghipondoka to give update on readiness of schools



Education minister Anna Nghipondoka is expected to make an announcement tomorrow on the state of readiness to reopen schools for grade 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 learners. 
Grades 11 and 12 as well as lower primary learners already resumed face-to-face learning this month, while grades 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 are expected to resume classes on Monday. 
Students Union of Namibia (SUN) secretary general Bernhard Kavau yesterday reacted that the current state of basic education is not ready for schools to continue. 

“We have visited many schools across the country and the gathering is more than 250 people,” he said. 
“Also it is very difficult for children under the age of 13 to maintain social distancing – most teachers are traumatised and scared. Learning is not taking place as is supposed to be. Let us think twice – is Namibia ready to quarantine more than 30 000 people if already they are struggling with less than 2 000?” 

However, Nghipondoka informed learners, parents and stakeholders that in preparation of the scheduled return of grade 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 learners to schools on Monday, the ministry undertook an online schools preparedness and readiness assessment survey in all 14 regional directorates of education in close consultation with the Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) regional leadership to assess preparedness, readiness and compliance of health measures. 

Schools were requested to respond to the assessment and feedback was expected yesterday before the minister could publicly announce the way forward on Friday. “Upon the submission of these reports, the ministry, together with Nantu, will meet to analyse and determine the next course of action in response to the findings and subsequently inform the nation of decisions taken by Friday,” Nghipondoka said.
She appealed to all stakeholders, particularly the learners, parents and the community at large, to remain calm and thus reaffirm the government’s commitment to ensure that the safety of learners, teachers and all staff members remains paramount in all the decisions that will be taken. 

Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) spokesperson Dylan Mukoroli said they have worrisomely taken cognizance of the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases by way of local transmission. This, he said, has prompted them to immediately launch an assessment to ascertain how this will in turn affect schools and the way forward. 

“What we are learning so far from our assessments is that there is general concern that schools are not ready for another cohort even in light of having the necessary safety protocols in place. The ongoing assessments are pivotal to ensuring our position is informed by reality on the ground and is inclusive of views of parents, learners and other stakeholders,” he noted. 
Should the assessment find that schools are not ready, Nanso said they would immediately resolve to ensure all schools are closed so as to ensure no learner and family are put at risk. 

The assessment is also looking at response strategies of schools if a case is reported. 
Nanso assured learners that they are on top of the situation and are busy actively looking at a way forward that is in their best interest. 
“Let’s focus on transition grades, namely grades 7, 9 and 11. Those are in a smaller group and can be managed. At the same time this period should be an opportunity to modernise our school’s environment, put up water, electricity and all materials needed at schools rather than risking the  lives of the future generation,” Kavau suggested.

anakale@nepc.com.na


Albertina Nakale
2020-07-30 09:13:19 | 4 days ago

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