NAP urge Ministry of education to create more space for learners deal with Covid – 19
By Our Reporter
National Advocacy Platform (NAP) has urged Ministry of Education to decongest schools as one way of responding to Covid 19 pandemic.
The pandemic has already claimed lives of 254 people and these include Senior Government officials Faith leaders and members of general public.
The pandemic has also taken away lives of two cabinet ministers and these include Mohammed Sidik Mia and Lingson Berekanyama.
Speaking at a NAP press briefing in Lilongwe NAP national coordinator, Edward Chileka Banda said Government should not close schools as some have suggested to avoid enmasse pregnancies of girls.
“On School operations We recognise the bold move by the government to open schools and allow learners to return to school closing schools proved to be very expensive to average Malawians and subjected students, particularly girls, to harsh situations that made them vulnerable to GBV and other forms of abuse.
Schools should not close for now as many students and parents are already affected. However, reports of increased Covid-19 Cases in schools is a worrisome development and needs swift action. We call upon the government to decongest the schools.” Said Chileka.
Chileka there are different ways of decongesting schools.
“The Current opening of schools need to be in phases prioritising examination and finishing classes and on top of that the ministry can introduce a double shift in schools. ” He said.
He said there is need to recruit more teachers to man additional classes as well as re-introducing and upgrading the Distance Learning Programme to allow more students learn from home.
He said learning materials organised through SETS would be an alternative to classroom learning to some students who can learn while elsewhere.
Chileka urged the Ministry to enforce Covid-19 prevention guidelines in all schools including the wearing of face masks, handwashing and social distancing.
On health cluster Malawi Health Equity Network Executive Director George Jobe said there is need to bail out Hospitals under Distress.
“The country’s hospitals including the central referral hospitals are overwhelmed. Medical personnel is overwhelmed too. And access to health services for other equally fatal diseases being compromised.”
Jobe said there is need to provide additional emergency funding to hospitals to cope up with the increased demand for health services amid Covid-19 crisis.
“Employ all medical and nursing personnel who are not yet engaged to boost the wobbling man-power in the health facilities.” He said.
He said Government has a duty of ensuring that provision of essential services is not disturbed and compromised.