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Schools will not be closed countrywide: Nghipondoka

Summary

Despite rising Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases among learners and teachers, which forced several schools in the Khomas Region to close for this week, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Anna Nghipondoka said this does not translate into the closure …

Despite rising Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases among learners and teachers, which forced several schools in the Khomas Region to close for this week, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Anna Nghipondoka said this does not translate into the closure of schools countrywide.

Nghipondoka said this in an interview with Nampa on Thursday, while responding to questions about rising cases among school children, and calls from members of parliament as well as the Teachers’ Union of Namibia (TUN) for the ministry to close down schools for the months of June and July 2021 until the situation gets better, or while finding amicable solutions.

However, Nghipondoka is adamant that the school trimester will not be interrupted and teaching will go on as planned, because only schools with a high number of cases will be closed for few days for disinfection and affected learners and teachers are advised to stay home until they recover.

“From where we are standing now, we are not planning any interruption at all, but we are saying that we are working around the clock to make sure that the measures we have put in place all along, we will still continue enhancing them by ensuring that our children are safe at school. We still believe that these children are still roaming around out there while the parents are at work,” said Nghipondoka.

She added that another reason for not closing schools is activities that school-going children get involved in while they are not attending classes, because some boys might end up mixing with wrong groups and get tempted to do drugs and other sorts of wrong activities, while girls end up falling pregnant and dropping out of school.

On Wednesday, TUN Secretary-General, Mahongora Kavihuha, wrote a letter to the minister requesting her to allow vulnerable teachers with underlying health conditions, including those who are pregnant, to work from home with immediate effect.

He also informed the minister that he had already written to the teachers urging them to invoke a provision of Section 42 of the Labour Act, should they be threatened sufficiently enough by the prevalence of the virus at their schools.

Source: Namibia Press Agency