Mozambique: Some Zambezia Schools Cannot Reopen

Maputo — Quelimane (Mozambique), 15 Jul (AIM) - At least 11 of the 52 complete secondary schools in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia will be unable to reopen on 27 July, according to the spokesperson for the provincial education directorate, Caunda Muticumala.

The government ordered the closure of all schools in late March, as a measure intended to restrict the spread of the Covid-19 respiratory disease. Reopening the schools will be gradual, starting with the 12th grade of secondary education on 27 July - but no school without a reliable supply of water will be allowed to reopen.

Muticumala told AIM that 11 of Zambezia's secondary schools cannot reopen because of poor sanitation and the obsolete state of the pumps on which their water supply systems depend.

He said there are 82 secondary schools in the province, of which 52 teach the second, pre-university cycle of secondary education (10th to 12th grade). But only 41 have guaranteed conditions for reopening. The other 11 that teach the second cycle need interventions in their plumbing in order to ensure that all pupils have sufficient water to wash their hands regularly - which is one of the basic measures used to keep Covid-19 at bay.

Five Zambezia teacher training colleges should also reopen on 27 July, and here Muticumala expected no problems. He regarded their level of readiness as "very satisfactory".

He guaranteed that efforts are under way to solve all the problems identified in the secondary schools that cannot open on 27 July.

The problems seem to be similar, or even worse, in the neighbouring province of Nampula where only 113 of the 154 secondary schools have adequate health conditions to resume classes on 27 July. The 41 secondary schools that cannot reopen cater for over 14,000 pupils.

In addition to water and sanitation problems, the size of classes must be changed, so that they contain no more than 26 pupils.

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