As schools open this week after they were forced to close due to the coronavirus outbreak, government is assuring the nation that strict measures have been put in place to keep everyone safe. 

Minister of General Education, David Mabumba has assured parents and the general public that all measures are being put in place to prepare schools for re-opening.

The measures, such as providing children and teachers with face masks, washing buckets and hand sanitizers may look easy on paper, but putting them in practice is far from easy, some stakeholders have observed. 

The National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) and the Medical for Quality Healthcare in Zambia (MQHZ) are urging government to delay opening of rural schools because some of them have not yet received protective equipment. 

In a joint statement, NAQEZ and MQHZ say their advice is from a study conducted across 631 schools from across the country between 22 – 28 May this year.

The two bodies said in a statement that of the 413 primary and 218 secondary schools that were surveyed, 308 are rural and 323 are urban schools.

Their survey found that 94.2 percent of the rural schools did not have hand sanitizers, thermometers, masks, had fewer desks (for physical distancing) and had poor sources of water.

NAQEZ Executive Director, Aaron Chansa, and MQHZ Director General, Dr Quince Mwabu saidallowing rural primary schools to re-open will be going against the very good and plain guidelines put in place by the ministries of general education and health.

They however, commended government for the effortto rejuvenate the education system in Zambia during the coronavirus pandemic.

On 08 May this year, President Edgar Lungu directed that primary and secondary school exam classes openon 01 June, on condition that they enforce health guidelines, regulations and certification as the country began to easy virus restrictions.

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