A parliamentarian has called upon the government to ensure that schools are safe for learners before it announces the opening date for the 2021 first term.
Primary and Secondary Education Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chairperson Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said some schools in Bulawayo were not ready to reopen as they did not have basics such as water, which is critical in curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga also pleaded with the government to ensure that teachers are motivated when schools reopen to avoid a situation whereby schools open without teachers. She said:
Our assessment as a committee when we visited some of the schools is that they were not safe because they lacked basics such as water.
Lack of water at some schools in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South should be addressed urgently before schools open.
Bulawayo is an urban area but has a water crisis affecting some schools. There is no way schools can meet the minimum hygiene standards without water.
We can provide consumables such as sanitisers but pupils need to wash their hands regularly and after visiting the toilet.
You don’t want to take those kids to where supervision is not there, learning is not there.
The children are not going to play centres but schools and a school can only be a school when teachers perform their duties.
Meanwhile, a plane carrying the country’s first coronavirus vaccines, 200 000 doses donated by China, arrived in the capital Harare on Monday.
A further 600 000 doses from China are set to arrive in early March from China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).