By Ireen Kayira, MANA
The national taskforce that was entrusted to assess if education institutions can be re-opened has recommended that the primary and secondary schools as well as universities and colleges should opened on July 13.
In a statement released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Education Science and Technology said the taskforce has given its recommendation to the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and the specific details and conditions for the re-opening shall be announced later after the Taskforce has finalized the consultations.
“It was worth pointing that the re-opening of Schools, Colleges and Universities amidst COVID-19 pandemic that led to the loss of four lives in the country was an attempt to ensure a proper balance between the right to education and right to life,” the statement reads.
“In order to achieve its mandate effectively, the taskforce set up teams composed of representatives of private and public universities and colleges, primary and secondary schools, civil society organizations and development and cooperating partners with interest in education into three sub-committees as follows:
*Logistics: This sub-committee is looking into operationalizing the tools and services to achieve safe return to schools.
*Basic and Primary Education: This sub-committee was tasked to review and come up with detailed and comprehensive recommendations based on facts on how to achieve safe return to school for primary and secondary schools.
*Higher Education: This sub-committee was tasked to review and come up with detailed and comprehensive recommendations based on facts on how to achieve safe return to school for institutions of higher learning — both public and private.
“Consultations to various stakeholders have already started in earnest with the first press release, and a consultation memorandum has been dispatched to various learning institutions and other sectors for their views on safe opening in their various contexts.
“The Taskforce further wishes to inform the general public and all stakeholders that it is working in a systematic and fact based way to ensure all its decision making is informed by the best of public health data and global best practices that ensure safe re-opening.
“Finally, the Taskforce calls on the general public and all stakeholders to provide their input for the safe return to school as sent out last week.
“For the benefit of those who may have missed the earlier communication on submission of input for the re-opening of schools, please take note that all written submissions should be made to the secretariat, national planning taskforce on COVID-19, education sector, by e-mail to email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org or through Private Bag 328, Lilongwe, to be received on or before June 10.