Mbabane: Students can now prepare themselves to go to class as government prepares to open schools from 1 July.
The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini has announced that government is looking at opening schools starting with form 5 from and tertiary institutions on 1 July 2020.
Dlamini made this announcement in a press briefing held at the cabinet offices on Saturday afternoon, when providing the covid-19 update.
The closure of schools was effected on 17 march 2020 as an effort for government to control the rapid spread of the virus. Speaking during the press conference Dlamini said, “It has further pleased His Majesty’s Government to embark on a phased approach towards the reopening of schools and tertiary institutions.” He said the intention is to reopen effectively on the 1st July 2020 starting with Form 5 and those completing classes at tertiary level. “Government will thereafter reopen Grade 7 and Form 3 on the 15th of July 2020”, he said.
The announcement comes at a time when there has been an uncertainty over opening of schools due to the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic which is threatening the whole world.
Despite schools closure some teachers had resorted in using available technology to teach students. The teachers were reported using WhatsApp to conduct classed while some were on Facebook and other social media and electronic means.
Government on the other hand had resorted to using National TV, Radio stations and newspapers to as means to teach students especially those on critical grades, like grade 7 form 3 and form 5.
On the other hand there had also been a huge uncertainty on tertiary institutions like the University of Eswatini (UNESWA) where students were threatening to boycott digital learning which was adopted by the University.
The students claimed it was costly and not affordable at all, calling the institution to buy them gadgets and data, or negotiate the cost of data with mobile telephone companies to at least make data cheaper.
Meanwhile also the Swaziland National Association Of teachers (SNAT) has tabled 15 demands which government was have a hard to address the demands.
The opening of schools remain a necessity to avoid effects which might come. The prime minister noted that evidence has shown that the prolonged closure of schools and tertiary institutions will have significant negative socio-economic effects and it cannot continue endlessly.
For the objectives of the 2020 academic year to be achieved, the premier said government need to allow the current Form 5 learners to progress to tertiary level. To do so they need to sit for their examinations and complete their end of school cycle.