The government has finally come out and admitted what we have known for weeks. Schools are going to open later this month. On the 28 of September to be exact. This is for those who were scheduled to write their final examinations this year i.e. the so-called final classes. Exams are scheduled to begin on 1 December and are expected to spill into January 2021.

If this timetable sounds familiar it’s because we wrote about this last month. Unfortunately the Secretary of Information, Mr Nick Mangwana took exception to the contents of the article and called it fake news. Never mind the fact that we were quoting the Minister of Information and the President on the issue. Well, it wasn’t fake news and it’s rather unfortunate that students and parents are being given so little time to prepare for the reopening due to conflicting government messages.

No smooth sailing

This, the reopening, is not going to be smooth sailing either. The government was forced to consult up to 15 groups of stakeholders including teacher’s unions. Unions have insisted that schools should provide them with PPE (protective material) before they are amenable to the reopening. The question is who is going to pay for that equipment. Certainly not our esteemed government which has failed to buy equipment for doctors and nurses who remain on strike. This might mean parents having to foot that bill. A lot of parents have not been working due to lockdown restrictions and those who were working have been on many occasions earning less.

The government has said that they have set aside US$20 million to buy testing equipment and other related material. We will see when that happens. Experience has taught us government pronouncements mean little. Only actual action counts. So we will wait for schools to reopen and see how it goes but as a parent be prepared to foot the bill. You have been warned.

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