PRIMARY and Secondary Education Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema has called on pupils to be vigilant and take all necessary measures to prevent contracting the deadly Covid-19 virus during the festive holidays.
Schools have been the latest target of Covid-19 and the Third Term which ends today saw more than 300 pupils contracting the deadly virus.
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In his Christmas message, Ambassador Mathema said pupils should enjoy the holiday responsibly remembering that on January 4, schools are opening for the First term.
He also hailed President Mnangagwa for his direction which has led to the socio-economic development of the nation.
Minister Mathema also extended his gratitude to teachers, pupils and all responsible authorities for the support despite challenges brought by Covid-19 during the school year ending today.
He said one of the major successes was being able to contain and manage Covid-19 at 49 affected schools countrywide.
“It has been a challenging year with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is still among us today. The pandemic forced Government to send all schools into lockdown for at least six months from 24 March 2020. However, I must hasten to applaud that together, we have managed to ride the waves in ensuring that learning and teaching continues in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Ambassador Mathema.
He said Government and school authorities successfully administered the June 2020 ZIMSEC examinations, reopened schools through the phased school calendar and managed the Cambridge examinations.
“The containment and management of Covid-19 cases in 49 of the 9 625 schools with no casualty reported to date was a major success for the Ministry. We also conducted the ZIMSEC examinations for Grade 7, Form 4 and Form 6 without discriminating those that tested positive for Covid-19,” said Ambassador Mathema.
He said that innovative alternative teaching and learning strategies were used for learners to catch-up and cover lost learning and teaching time during the lockdown.
Ambassador Mathema said to implement social distancing for the prevention and management of Covid-19, the Ministry had established an alternative schooling timetable to cater for infrastructure deficiencies.
He said several milestones were reached and challenges addressed within the ministry, in collaboration with sister Ministries, partners and stakeholders.
“These challenges range from Covid-19 infections in some schools, shortages of personal protective equipment and conditions of service of teachers. Indeed, your cooperation with the Ministry has made these recent months of our association a source of great satisfaction and encouragement to me in this important period of our country’s educational development,” he said.
Ambassador Mathema called for continued mutual cooperation in 2021 from pupils, teachers, school authorities, partners and every stakeholder within the Ministry.
“I also want to remind our learners that as they go into their communities, they should be vigilant to stay safe and prevent infection from Covid-19 as the school opening day on 4 January 2021 beckons.
It has been fantastic working with all the constructive and progressive players in the Education Sector in 2020 and I hope together we can continue providing quality, relevant, equitable, inclusive and wholesome education for all Zimbabweans,” he said.-Chronicle