July 29, 2021

MHEN disputes schools closure calls

The Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) chairperson, George Jobe, said it is too early to call for schools closure before finding loopholes and ways to rectify the challenges in schools.

Jobe said officials who are doing surveys in schools should come up with the findings and discuss with the nation how to rectify challenges encountered in schools.

He further asked the Ministry of Education to collaborate with different stakeholders at community level to enforce Covid-19 preventive measures in schools.

The MHEN chair has also asked the Ministry of Education to emulate ways that have been used in other institutions which are still operating under Covid-19 strict measures.

“I think it’s better we find solutions rather than giving up easly by closing schools. We never know when the virus will be defeated so we better find the challenges that are existing in schools and find solutions to rectify the problems. We have to emulate ways that have been used in markets, banks and offices.”

“I think the best way Ministry of Education should ban people from visiting students in boarding schools and controlling the outings of students, while for day schools government should collaborate with community leaders and school committees to ensure that issues of face masks, social distance and hand sanitizers be followed by compulsory,” Jobe said.

He further added the country should learn from last year’s closure where students were sent back to their respective homes without proper procedures of protecting them from contracting the pandemic and at the end a lot of students were busy watching videos in different video rooms which is not safe as compared to having them in schools.

This has come barely a day after Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 announced that it is conducting a surveillance in schools to assess the situation before taking necessary action.

The exercise follows growing calls from the public for the government to close schools due to the increase of Covid-19 in education facilities.

There are suggestions that only those writing MSCE exams should remain in school as they already suffered disruptions last year.

So far, Covid-19 positive cases have been recorded at Blantyre Secondary School, Central High, Mount View, St Andrews, Polytechnic and Chancellor College.

Two senior lecturers have died of the pandemic at Mzuzu University-MZUNI in the just ended week.

Meanwhile Co-Chairperson of the Task Force Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has insisted that any decision will be taken based on evidence.

By Eric Chiputula

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