Covid-19 third wave surge worries ZANEC
By ANDREW MUKOMA
HE Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) is concerned with the surge in the number of cases under the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic recently announced by the Ministry of Health.
And ZANEC has called for the strengthening of measures that will stop the quick spread of the third wave among learners.
Executive Director George Hamusunga has charged that the impact of the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, as warned by the Ministry of Health, required urgent action by the Ministry of General Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Finance in ensuring that Covid-19 preventive and mitigation measures are strengthened in schools.
In a statement issued to the Daily Nation, Mr Hamusunga said, priority should be to protect the health and safety of learners and prevent further learning loss.
“As you are aware, Zambia is among countries globally that made a strategic decision to reopen schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision to re-open schools last year resulted in Zambia being among the countries globally that have averted a learning crisis that majority of countries are now facing,” he said.
He said that this can be attributed to the political will and leadership demonstrated by the Ministries of Health, General Education and Higher Education which have resulted in relatively minimal losses in learning due to the impact of Covid-19, compared to the situation in other Countries.
“This progress notwithstanding, our greatest fear now is that the 3rd wave of the Covid-19 can easily erode our gains if we continue taking the business as usual approach. We need to avoid any further school closure by increasing investment in our schools aimed at making them resilient to the impact of Covid-19,” Hamusunga.
“Our schools need to be in the emergency-response mode all the time. Closing of schools should not be an option, given the low reach of our alternative modes of education provision,” he urged.
Mr Hamusunga also said that Zambia has limited options for remote distance learning with lots of challenges.
“Therefore, schools are our only hope. We agree with the statement made by the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kennedy Malama, yesterday that the Ministry of Health will not rush in closing schools but will instead work with the Ministries responsible to enforce the Covid-19 prevention and mitigation measures,” he said.
Mr Hamusunga however, said, enforcing Covid-19 measures in schools requires collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health and the two Ministries of Education to ensure the health and safety of our children.