Harare – After one year, learners in Eswatini finally get back into classrooms on March 29 as the government tries to get a handle on COVID-19.
Education and Training Minister Howard Mabuza said re-opening of schools was not because the country had contained the coronavirus pandemic, but the effects of prolonged closure were now being felt as a witnessed by a rise in child labour, teenage pregnancies, sexual abuse and child marriages.
“It has been over a year since the closure of our schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are glad to announce the re-opening of schools on March 29. This means that a number of Emaswatini children have not experienced any effective learning since March 2020 despite all the ministry’s efforts to ensure the continuity of education.
“Government’s decision to re-open schools is not because the virus has been contained but this is done in consideration of the socioeconomic impact of prolonged school closure The rate of teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse, child labour and early child marriages has notably increased since the closure of schools,” said Minister Mabuza.
The minister urged schools to strictly abide by regulations and guidelines to ensure learners and teachers’ health was protected.
“The excitement of this announcement should not allow us to let our guard down, the virus is still deadly, hence it requires stringent adherence to Covid-19 regulations and guidelines,” said Minister Mabuza.
The Ministry of Education and Training developed a module on coronavirus, which will now be part of instruction in schools.
“The Ministry has developed a COVID-19 training module which all teachers are expected to teach to learners on the first week of re-opening.
“We believe knowledge is the most effective way to ensure that learners adhere to these guidelines (Covid-19 guidelines and regulations) and will further pass the information to their parents and communities,” said Minister Mabuza.