The K722.4 billion provisional budget members of Parliament (MPs) passed does not have any allocation for the fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) amid an accelerated rise in the number of people contracting the disease.
The unprecedented rise in the number of Covid-19 cases is also coming at a time the National Planning Taskforce is proposing that schools should reopen on 13 July 2020.
This has prompted Edukans Foundation Malawi, a local non-governmental organization championing quality basic education in Malawi, to question government seriousness on the fight against the pandemic and its commitment to the promotion of education.
The Edukans Foundation Malawi Country Director, Limbani Nsapato, wonders how the government intends to balance the learners' right to education against a threat to their life, which the Covid-19 pandemic poses to both teacher and learners.
Nsapato emphasized on Tuesday that if schools, colleges and universities are to reopened on the proposed date, teachers and learners will need to follow strict preventive guidelines, which include ensuring that they have hand-washing facilities and personal protective equipment.
"I have gone through the K722.4 billion four-month provisional budget statement trending within social media. I have not come across a mention of Covid-19, given the rising cases as reported by the Ministry of Health. My interest is however related to education. Majority of parents and students (over 80%) want the government to take heed of the proposal by the National Planning Taskforce to reopen schools on 13 July 2020," he said.
Nsapato said should schools, colleges and universities reopen on the proposed date of July 13 2020, the government will require a lot of money to procure hand-washing facilities and PPEs for both teachers and learners.
"Otherwise the educational institutions will not be able to enforce preventive measures come 13 July . This will be a big threat to both learners and teachers and by extension parents and relatives. Let the government act on this matter. Let schools open while balancing the right to life and right to education. Covid-19 is real. And it is real in education institutions as well," he said.