Mbabane: Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) says together with Swaziland Principals’ Association (SWAPA) wants other grades to re-open next year, 2021.
In a statement issued on Thursday, October 1 by SNAT Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini it was revealed that the Ministry of Education and Training convened a consultative meeting with all stakeholders regarding the issue of re-opening other Grades.
The consultative meeting was held on September 25 and it was during that meeting where the stakeholders agreed that they want the other grades to re-open next year.
“It was clear that the prevailing realities on the ground militated against any proposal to re-open the other Grades this year (2020) during this COVID-19 era” reads the statement.
SNAT says in the meantime the Government needs to thoroughly prepare so that when schools re-open next year, 2021 there will not be any disturbance. For that matter the teacher’s union raised a number of issues which the government should take into serious consideration. This issues include paying all outstanding Free Primary Education (FPE) and Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) 2020 grants. This must be done so that the schools can be able to utilise those funds in replenishing COVID-19 essentials used in schools to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Another issue that SNAT tabled for the Government is the shortage of classrooms as the COVID-19 National Regulations and Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) stipulate that social distancing should be practised even in schools.
The SNAT proposals are still yet to be discussed at the cabinet level.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education Bertram Stewart said the issue of re-opening of the other grades is still under discussion.
Currently, Form V, Form 3 and Grade 7 are the only class that opened after the closed in March following the outbreak of the pandemic.