By Duncan Mlanjira
Ministry of Education, Science & Technology has stopped some private schools which have flighted adverts informing their students the resumption of classes, saying schools remain closed until the “Government provides instructions on the way forward.
All schools and colleges were closed on March 23 following the declaration of National State Disaster by President Peter Mutharika “with the view to protect learners, teachers and parents from contracting Coronavirus”.
“We are extremely grateful to the people of Malawi for adhering to this call as all schools remain closed,” says a statement issued by the Ministry’s Secretary, Justin Saidi.
“The Ministry has noted with concern that some private schools are floating adverts in the media inviting students to come to school for opening by end of April, 2020.
“The schools are further requesting parents to pay school fees for their wards in advance because the private schools will be offering online tuition to students.”
Thus the Ministry implores the private schools from opening and that it shall reschedule school terms once advised on the severity of COVID-19.
“As it stands now, the school calendar has been disturbed and no new calendar has been put in place until the Ministry of Health advises us otherwise.
“Once the school’s open, they will pick up from where they stopped and examination classes will be given ample time to study before the actual examinations.”
Saidi disclosed that respective independent school’s’ mother bodies wrote to the Ministry highlighting the challenges they are facing and he said the requests have been forwarded to relevant offices and are waiting for responses.
“In the meantime, all private schools should wait for our feedback on the same. In the interim, the learning platforms that have been launched will be accessible to students from both the private and public,” Saidi says in the statement.
On April 6, private school, Maranatha Academy opened up an online learning that was extended to other school students in Malawi as schools remain closed.
At a press briefing held in Blantyre, Maranatha’s managing director Ernest Kaonga said they initiated the service to minimize the disadvantage that may arise as a result of the indefinite school holidays that was carried out as national response to COVID-19 pandemic.
He further said the technology has already been sampled out and upon enrollment students will be accessing all their virtual classes through computers and mobile phones.
In order to accommodate many students tuition fee has been slashed from K30,000 to K15,000 and payment will be through the school’s bank account or by mobile money, whose numbers will be given upon enrollment to be done through contacting Maranatha management.
Subjects to be on offer are all modules — Biology, English, Mathematics, Geography among some on offer.