Govt rules out schools closure over cholera

HARARE - The Primary and Secondary education ministry is working flat out to ensure that pupils at Glen View 5 Primary School in Harare —  who have missed class because lessons have been suspended due to the cholera outbreak — are not affected by the temporary closure.

Permanent secretary in the ministry Sylvia Utete –Masango yesterday slammed calls by the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union (Artuz) for schools to shut down to curb the spread of cholera.

“Measures will be taken to make sure that these pupils are not affected by this temporary suspension of lessons.  Remember we stand guided by the ministry of Health.

“We are working on Plan B so that we make sure that the pupils are not disadvantaged,” she said.

“I was shocked to learn about the associations calling for schools to close. It is not their mandate but government’s responsibility. Government knows what it is doing; let’s go by what the government says and not what other people wish,” she said.

This comes after Artuz issued a statement saying it has concluded its research on the state of schools’ preparedness to handle the cholera outbreak. It said schools are not safe and have no capacity to mitigate the deadly cholera outbreak.

“Following the suspension of lessons at Glen View 5 Primary School in Harare, Artuz calls for the closure of all schools, in line with government’s pronouncement banning all public gatherings,” Artuz said in a statement.

Harare day schools are the worst affected given the high mobility of the capital city’s population, coupled with lack of safe running water, the union said.

“The centralised model of both the governance and economic architecture of our country forces citizens from all over the country to go to Harare for one reason or the other. Under such circumstances, no one is safe. Schools in rural outposts will be the worst affected soon as they don’t have running water.

“Schools should only open when we have successfully contained the cholera pandemic,” the statement added.

The union has officially communicated this position to the Education ministry.

Utete-Masango said the ministry is still weighing options and will soon make an announcement.

With the public examinations just around the corner, there are worries that the affected schools are at a disadvantage.

The cholera crisis broke out a fortnight ago and saw the government invoking the Public Health Act, banning public gatherings and vending to arrest the spread of the disease.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.