THE Zimbabwe government has indefinitely deferred the opening of teachers’ colleges, polytechnics and industrial training colleges allowing only examination classes to return to the institutions on 4 January due to surging Covid-19 cases.
In a statement, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development directed all teachers’ colleges, polytechnics and industrial training colleges to defer opening while Government monitors the Covid-19 situation after the resurgence of the pandemic which has resulted in increasing cases and mounting deaths.
The country recorded 217 new cases and six deaths on New Year’s Day. Of the cases 216 are local while one case is a returning citizen from South Africa bringing the total number of cases to 14 084 and 369 deaths.
Bulawayo recorded 39 new cases and two deaths.
The ministry said the colleges will open for examination classes only while strictly adhering to Standard Operation Procedures.
“The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development directs that only examination classes are allowed to open on January 4, 2021 and the other classes will be notified of their opening dates in due course as Government monitors the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
In this regard ensure that the Standard Operation Procedures are strictly adhered to in order to curb the spread of Covid-19,” reads the statement.
This comes as Government has also deferred the opening of schools for the 2021 calendar, due to surging Covid-19 cases and the forecasted Cyclone Chalane.
However, 2020 Ordinary and Advanced Level pupils will continue with their examinations as scheduled from 5 January to 5 February next year.
The Government had earlier scheduled the schools opening as well as that of teachers’ colleges, polytechnics and industrial training colleges on 4 January 2021.
Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Tumisang Thabela said dates for the commencement of the 2021 calendar for both primary and secondary schools will be announced in due course as Government monitors the situation.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Schools would like to advice its valued learners, parents guardians and other stakeholders that in light of the surge in Covid-19 infections and the new and more contagious variants of the disease, as well as threat posed by Cyclone Chalane Government has seen it fit to deviate from the previously announced 2021 school calendar that directed schools to open on January, 4 2021.
In this regard please be advised that 2020 Zimsec O and A-level examinations will resume on January 5 2021 to February 5 as previously announced.
Having deferred the opening of schools before January 4 the dates for the commencement of the 2021 school calendar for all primary and secondary schools will be announced in due course as Government monitors the situation,” she said last week.