CISEC calls for gradual re-opening of schools

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By Florence Mwale

The Civil Society Education Coalition (CISEC) is calling for the gradual reopening of schools in the country.

This is due to what the organisation terms as double standards in the application of response measures by the government and other stakeholders.

On March 23 President Peter Mutharika ordered the closure of all learning institutions as a measure to curb spread of the coronavirus.

The Malawi leader also put in place other measures such as restricting gatherings of more than 100 people.

In turn, city councils went on further and among other events banned sporting activities, weddings and night clubs.

Despite the bans still in place, politicians have however been in the forefront of flouting the restrictions put in place.

In a statement CISEC Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe and Acting Board Chairperson Jennipher Mkandawire accuse the government of failing to uphold the right to education.

The officials challenge Capital Hill to prioritize education and not just politics.

The organisation indicates that though the government is intending to introduce radio and television programmes in addition to online learning, the methods would leave many learners behind.

According to the 2018 Malawi Population and Housing Census only 16% of Malawians have access to the internet, 33% have access to radio, 52% have access to mobile and 14% have access to television.

With this in mind, CISEC advises allowing all graduating grades and final year students in colleges and universities to return to their respective institutions.

It further recommends putting in place strict measures which include provision of hand sanitizers, face masks and thermometers in all learning institutions, decongesting and disinfecting classes.

CISEC also suggests providing allowances to all teachers working in double shifts.

In an earlier interview with Capital FM Kondowe warned of the implications of the continued closure of schools.

He disclosed that the effects would be dire considering the state the education sector is already in.

The Ministry of Education has since called for a meeting with various stakeholders in order to discuss a number of proposals concerning the re-opening of schools.

Malawi has registered 57 cases of the virus of which 30 are active, 24 have recovered and 3 have died.



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