Mbabane: The government of the Kingdom of Eswatini has announced that schools will re-open on March 29 for the 2021 calendar year.
The announcement was made by the Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku in a press conference held at the Cabinet offices on Thursday afternoon.
Making the announcement Masuku said schools will be opened using the rotational and blended approach whose details will be provided by the Ministry of Education and Training.
Masuku stated that not all learners will be allowed to attend class at once, as a result, a rotational attendance schedule and blended approach as teaching and learning has been developed.
“This means specific levels will be allowed to school for face-to-face instructional time on specific days and given assignments to do while at home. This will allow social distancing measures to be implemented adequately in schools,” he said.
Masuku said the Ministry of Education and Training has conducted inspections in all regions whose results indicate that schools are well prepared to welcome learners for the 2021 academic year.
He went on to say government has also set up testing, treating and isolation centers in all regions of the country to ensure easy access by pupils and teachers who might need those services.
Masuku highlighted that this week also marks a year since government closed schools and training institutions to protect pupils, students, teachers and parents from the COVID-19 pandemic. He said while some classes were eventually opened over the course of the year, a majority of students and pupils have remained at home.
Masuku said the Ministry of Education and Training, was working closely with the Ministry of Health, Teacher organizations, UN agencies and other partners in Education, and have developed Standard Operating Procedures for all schools and educational institutions.
“Government understands fully that re-opening at such a time requires caution, preparedness and provision of equipment necessary for the safety of all students and teachers,” he said.
Regarding to schools fees, Masuku said government has paid all due funds to schools. He said these include Free Primary Education (FPE) and Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) grants for 2020 and the first tranche of 2021 fees.
He added that hand washing stations have been constructed in schools across the country to ensure hand hygiene health protocols are enforced. “We continue to supply soaps, sanitizers, water tanks, scanners and face masks to all schools to replenish the already existing supplies,” he said.
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