Matabeleland Rural Schools In Danger Of COVID-19 – Rural Community Empowerment Trust

Schools in rural Matabeleland are not ready to open for the 2021 school calendar as they are said to be ill-equipped to follow COVID-19 guidelines to safely resume taking learners, The Standard reports.

This was revealed by the Rural Community Empowerment Trust coordinator in Matabeleland North Vumani Ndlovu who said some schools lack water and sanitation services to ensure that safety procedures are being followed as learning resumes:

Teachers are complaining of lack of funds. It will take three weeks for a teacher in Dandanda, Mahlalufikile, Dongamuzi , Dlamini  in Tsholotsho and Simbo in Nkayi  to reach their schools. Only urban and boarding schools will survive. Rural schools are in danger.

His sentiments were echoed by Thembelani Dube, an educationist who said schools were not yet ready to take on students in their current conditions:

The infrastructure is not adequate. Physical distancing is a major stumbling block. Both rural and urban schools have inadequate structures when the rest of the learners join in on March 22.

Dube also spoke about remuneration for teachers and said it will also affect learners to an extend:

Poor remuneration of educators compared to the uniformed forces is also a negative factor. The majority of educators did not make it to their work stations due to the pay dates.  So the majority opted to wait for the salaries.

Proper remuneration of educators will ensure learning and teaching takes place in those open classrooms. Most rural schools in deep Matabeleland North are very much in a bad shape in terms of additional teachers, and adequate infrastructure for physical distancing by both educators and learners.

It is still not clear if teachers will turn up for duty as schools are supposed to open for the rest of the student body tomorrow.

More: The Standard

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