Maputo — Mozambican Education Minister Carmelita Namashalua on Monday expressed her determination that schools should reopen safely, without any danger of transmitting among pupils the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
The government's strategy is to reopen the schools gradually, starting with the 12th, pre-university grade of secondary education, which is taught in 667 schools, and the teacher training colleges (IFPs).
Schools were closed on 20 March, and no date has yet been fixed for any phase of the re-opening.
Namashalua, speaking at the start of a seminar attended by provincial directors of education and heads of department, said that re-opening the schools depends on ensuring basic conditions of hygiene so that schools do not become a breeding ground for the coronavirus.
"We want this meeting to produce reflections, contributions and concrete, practical suggestions for the resumption of classes, in the perspective of zero contamination and spread of Covid-19 in the schools", she declared.
Namashalua added that the pandemic should not endanger compliance with the strategic programme of the education sector. All the key stakeholders in education should adapt to "the new normal", by providing the necessary conditions, for resuming classes.
"At no time should we collapse into the excuse that Covid-19 has disrupted compliance with our strategic programme", she said. "We must always take into account that we are in an abnormal situation, and seek to adapt to the reality imposed by Covid-19".
Namashalua said the Ministry is aware of the constraints and challenges each province faces, hence the need for a permanent exchange of information in the search for solutions, which was why the seminar was being held.
She wanted the Provincial Directors to share their ideas on the requirements, criteria and procedures for resuming and monitoring the teaching-learning process.
The heated discussions occurring throughout the country on when and how to reopen schools have centred on ensuring that every school meets basic hygiene requirements, particularly the availability of water, so that pupils can wash their hands regularly.