Ministry of Education has extended temporary suspension of classes in Cyclone Freddy hit districts due to unavailability of essential infrastructure.
The initial arrangement was that primary and secondary school classes will resume this Monday. However, in a statement issued yesterday, the suspension will end on March 31 and classes resume on April 17.
“The rapid assessment of schools that the Ministry of Education has conducted in the affected districts shows that most structures such as classrooms and toilets are unsafe; hence, need certification before children can be brought to school.
“While other infrastructure such as roads, bridges and support services need maintenance or restoration for learners to safely access schools,” reads the statement in part.
The statement, signed by Ministry of Education Principal Secretary Chikondano Mussa, further says about 230 schools were being used as holding camps for internally displaced communities.
Signed the statement: Mussa
“In the Cyclone Freddy most affected education districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mulanje, Phalombe, Blantyre Rural, Blantyre Urban, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Mwanza, Neno, Zomba Rural and Zomba Urban classes will resume on April 17 2023, when term 3 commences,” it reads in part.
Furthermore, the ministry has stated that all learners sitting for national and international examinations will return to school on March 27 2023 to prepare for examinations.
Education policy advocate expert Limbani Nsapato has welcomed the decision as generally good but he asked the government to push forward national examination dates so that the learners can make up for the lost time.
“The suspension of the classes so far has negatively affected these candidates. But also, we are not very sure that by that time the schools will be ready.
“There are also a number of calls to review the examination calendar so that the dates are pushed a little bit further to accommodate the period that has been lost.
“Apart from the time, also the psychological preparation that is needed for those students,” the country director for Educans, said.
Meanwhile, the Malawi Engineering Institution has unveiled plans to undertake infrastructure assessment in four cyclone hit districts of Phalombe, Mulanje, Chikwawa and Nsanje.
“We have so far identified 12 drone pilots and 3 GIS [Geographic Information Systems] experts. These will be split into four teams to collect data as quickly as possible.
“We also have engineers on the ground, who have volunteered to implement our work efforts on this initiative.” said MEI in its Disaster Response Initiative Report One circulated yesterday
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