Botswana: School Shifts Returns

Molepolole — The morning and afternoon classes alias double shift, has returned as the coronavirus protocols have forced schools to reduce the number of learners per class.

Explaining to the Assistant Minister of Basic Education Mrs Nnaniki Makwinja during on-going school tours on Tuesday, May 27 to check their preparedness for re-opening next week, head teachers at Letsholo and Molefe Primary Schools and Kopong Junior Secondary School said the one meter social distancing had resulted with additional classes, hence some pupils would be forced to come in the afternoons.

The normal school calendar has been negatively affected by the lockdown and schools are scheduled to re-open on June 2, with the first batch comprising of only completing pupils, Standard 7, Form 3 and Form 5.

Letsholo head Ms Didimalang Matleelana said they had been forced to divide the Standard 7 class, which because of the pressure to catch up, would use additional classrooms.

She said this would prove a challenge for some teachers who commute as far as Molepolole due to lack of accommodation at the school.

Standard seven pupils have been allocated three classrooms and this would prove a challenge once other leaners begin their classes.

With a population of 1100 pupils and expected to increase, Molefe Primary School has split the Standard 7 class into three classes, also putting pressure on the availability of classrooms.

The school has requested caravans to assist in alleviating the situation.

At Kopong Junior School, the head teacher Ms Tlhomamo Gaborekwe said Form three pupils would not have double shift as they were to prepare for the final examinations, which would put pressure on availability of classrooms.

The 16-stream school has 787 learners, with 10 classrooms.

Meanwhile the schools are almost ready to receive the first batch of pupils: those writing their final examinations towards the end of the year.

Additional toilets and areas to wash hands have been constructed and are at different levels of completion.

At Letsholo, installation of hand washing basins has been completed and old toilets have been provided with taps. The toilets are still under construction and the head teacher said they are on schedule.

At Molefe, the artisans have been engaged to construct the hand washing areas and toilets, and while they are not yet complete, the first area consisting of six taps is expected to be ready for Standard 7 pupils.

Ms Makwinja, who is also MP for Lentsweletau-Mmopane said she was happy with progress as schools showed preparedness for covid-19.

She explained that schools would be provided with soaps, sanitisers and thermometers.

With regard to shortage of classrooms, she said the ministry had planned to acquire caravans and would enquire if they could be availed to the schools. She further said additional teachers would be engaged.

The schools are to be provided with temporary Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) officers and additional cleaners.

Source: BOPA

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