Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
SCHOOLS will reopen within the next two weeks for final examination classes starting with Cambridge examination candidates on September 14 while those sitting for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) examinations will resuming classes on September 28.
This includes Upper Six, Form Four and Grade Seven classes and Zimsec examinations should start on December 1.
The Ministry of Primary and Second Education is working closely with other ministries and stakeholders to guarantee the safety of pupils and staff during the examinations period.
Standard operating procedures have since been distributed to all schools, while infection prevention training for teachers and support staff from public schools is already underway.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa revealed the dates after last night’s Cabinet meeting and said there was ample time for recommended health measures to be put in place.
“The schools opening dates are scheduled for 14 September 2020 for Cambridge examinations classes and 28 September 2020 for Zimsec examination classes. Cabinet approved that the Zimsec examinations should start on 1 December, 2020,” she said.
The announcement follows weeks of debate, which have seen submissions from teachers’ unions, Parliament, trust schools and parents to the Government. Most groups are opposed to the early reopening of schools.
“Regarding Primary and Secondary Education, Cabinet notes that based on on-going consultations with relevant stakeholders in that sector, the Ministry is continuing with its preparations for the re-opening of schools for the end of year 2020 final examination classes,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said 15 stakeholders have submitted their inputs while another nine are expected to make their submissions shortly.
Among those that were invited for input on the reopening of schools are: Zimbabwe Visually Impaired Teachers’ Union (ZVITU) and nine other teachers’ unions, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, the Association of School Development Committees, the Independent Colleges in Zimbabwe; the Private Schools Association of Zimbabwe; and the Association of Trust Schools.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Government is also finalising on modalities for the re-opening of airports to support the resumption of the tourism sector.
The plan is to start with the resumption of domestic flights and then move to international flights. Cabinet approved the resumption of the rest of tourism operations including boat operations.
Cabinet also received an update on the steps that are being taken to contain the Covid-19 pandemic from the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who chairs the Ad Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force on the Covid-19.
The country now has 6 388 confirmed Covid-19 cases, of which 5 078 are attributed to local transmission.
Harare has the highest number of cases with 2 532, followed by Bulawayo with 1 271.
Covid-19 related deaths now stand at 202 while recoveries increased to 5 043 from the previously recorded 4 525. Active cases increased to 1 150. – @mashnets