Let Us Rethink Phased Reopening Of Schools
The Ministry of Education and the government should, therefore, find ways to look into and manage the frustrations of the people. Otherwise, the rules will continue to be broken with untold consequences. Pupils and students have now begun going back to school in the phased manner that the government provided. As of April 6, Primary Four and Five pupils had reported to school while yesterday, April 12, Senior One students had returned. However, it has been discovered, as reported by Daily Monitor, that many private schools had already received learners of all classes and studying has been ongoing. In the story titled, “Schools ignore govt directive, fully reopen”, in Daily Monitor of April 12, it was reported that a number of private schools in different districts had opened up for all classes, some as early as February. Interestingly, the inspectors of schools in these districts said they had heard rumours about, or were aware of, what was happening and were yet to deal with the culprits. This reveals a number of things: First, the fear of Covid-19 has reduced greatly. For both schools’ administrations and parents to allow children to get back to studying, shows that people are no longer as afraid of the disease. As we reported, many institutions are not observing the standard operating procedures put to stem the spread of the pandemic.
Secondly, schools have been one of those that have faced the biggest challenges of the lockdown. While other businesses were allowed to operate a couple of months or more after partial lifting of the lockdown, schools remained closed until seven months later, when candidates were allowed to return. By then, the schools had had to deal with paying for rent and other utilities, paying salaries and so on without an active income. Indeed many schools found it hard to cope and either closed, or sold their property off, a story which Daily Monitor also reported, earlier in March. Those still standing are now desperate to get back to normal and save their business, which may explain why they are opening for all classes. Thirdly, parents are worried about how their children’s education will be affected after being away for so long. Most of the learners have been out of school with only a few privileged ones able to have online-based learning, or to switch to international schools which were allowed to resume classes much earlier. Most of the others though, have been at home the whole time. Parents are eager to get them back into school because they believe a good education will prepare them well for the future. The Ministry of Education and other government agencies should therefore find ways to look into and manage the frustrations of the people, otherwise the rules will continue to be broken with untold consequences.
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