By Duncan Mlanjira
As schools are on forced holidays in observance of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) preventive measures specifically to limit social gatherings that the State President directed last month, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) has been on an awareness campaign to impress on parents to encourage school study momentum amongst learners.
The campaign, using mobile public address system, has been carried out in five districts — Mzuzu, Mzimba, Dowa, Mangochi and has just been concluded in Blantyre this week.
CSEC Programme Manager, Kisa Kumwenda said the campaign was aimed at spurring the parents to be on their toes by keeping the learners motivated so that they should not relax but keep on revising and studying ahead of the reopening of the schools.
“We took cognizance that some parents in rural parts of the country cannot teach their children and wards but they can play a huge part to motivate the learners to always be school minded, especially those that will go straight to write for the Primary School Leaving Certificate (PLCE) and the Malawi Schools Certificate of Education (MSCE) exams when schools reopen.
“This is not the time for the learners to relax but to keep the momentum ahead of the reopening of the schools very soon,” Kumwenda said.
He added that the parents have also been asked to keep the same spirit all the time especially during weekends when most learners relax and forget about school until Monday.
The campaign also involved traditional and community leaders to continue inspiring the parents to concentrate on their studies all the time.
“The pandemic that forced schools to be closed should not the affect quality of education which we aim for,” Kumwenda said.
“This is the time we should all join hands to forge ahead and during the campaign we also sensitized the communities how to prevent Coronavirus infection as well as to keep the same hygiene measures even after the COVID-19 has been contained.”
The campaign also asked teachers to be preparing and distributing study modules that the parents can be following up with their children and wards.
CSEC’s objectives is to advocate for quality and inclusive education and the districts that it carried out the momentum campaign are part of their area of focus where there is a high rate of school dropouts especially by the girl child and those with physical disabilities.
Kumwenda said if they secure more funding, they have plans to extend the programme to other parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Chief of Health Services, Dr. Charles Mwansambo has written a memo of request to the Secretary for Education, Science and Technology and also for Labour Skills and Innovation Training that in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for isolation centres across the country for suspected cases or cases not requiring admission as a public health measure to contain the virus.
“It is against this background that I write to request you to inform heads of training institutions(primary, secondary and tertiary level) under your jurisdiction to make available school blocks, classrooms or hostels which will be used as mentioned above when the need arises.
“The District Directors of Health and Social Services as well as officials from the Ministry of Health will be available to give guidance on how such isolation centres will operate,” writes Mwansambo.