HARARE – The government, through Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, announced on Wednesday that schools will reopen on August 30 for the second semester.
The hasty decision comes a day after authorities extended the COVID-19 lockdown for another two weeks and predictably drew anger and backlash from a number of people.
The secretariat of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Raymond Majongwe, chastised the government for the ill-informed decision, which he described as an “ambush” to key stakeholders.
“Parents, teachers and students have all been assaulted. Who has a lot of money lying around to use for fees or the bus ride to work? The government may agree, but no one else,” the PTUZ said in a statement.
Majongwe also explains why they oppose the hasty decision to open schools at such short notice.
“The truth is that even though school was supposed to start anytime, it was better for [the government] to get involved. There are serious problems with teachers who do not have a bus ticket (disabled), others are waiting to be vaccinated. It seems that [the government] likes to fight with its workers. We love our jobs,” he said.
Examination classes will first return to school on August 30, with the rest of classes on September 6, ministers said after a cabinet meeting.
Norton lawmaker Temba Mliswa also accused the government of disorderly planning and a show of incompetence.
“The government announces that schools will only open five days in advance. Is it even convenient for parents and everyone involved? You cannot rule a country by unilateral decrees. Is it a race to just have written exams or what?
Second-semester schools were due to open on June 28 – but a rise in COVID-19 infections led to an indefinite postponement.
The number of infections has fallen in recent days, according to official government statistics, a development that may have prompted schools to reopen.
At a post-cabinet press conference in the capital, Monica Mutsvangwa did not say how long the second term would last, but the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education recently hinted that schools could remain open until at Christmas – making the second and third terms effective would be combined.