PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday announced that schools will close next Tuesday, a week before scheduled dates as part of government’s precautionary measures to stop the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in the country.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO/VENERANDA LANGA
Mnangagwa on Tuesday announced several measures to control a possible outbreak, including banning gatherings of more than 100 people, postponing the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and this year’s Independence Day celebrations, amount others, but did not change the day schools would be closed.
But in a statement yesterday, Mnangagwa said the schools will now close on March 24 and the government will advise on dates for the re-opening of all teaching institutions in the country once the treat of the virus was adjudged to have receded.
“Following concerns from parents, as well as representations by the educational sector, government has decided that all schools and tertiary institutions (colleges, polytechnics and universities) will now close on Tuesday March 24, 2020 as a precaution against the outbreak and spread of coronavirus,” he said.
“While Zimbabwe has not recorded any cases of the virus to date, government has thought it prudent to err on the side of caution, more so in respect of teaching institutions where human concentration and contact is expectedly high.”
Mnangagwa said the closing date should allow for an orderly closure of the learning institutions and for parents to arrange for the safe travel of pupils and students.
Meanwhile, government said it would subsidise examination fees for seven Ordinary-Level subjects per pupil with parents meeting the full cost for additional subjects.
The full cost per subject is $190, and for seven subjects, government will pay $100, while parents pay the balance.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema announced the decision in a ministerial statement that he issued in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
“Government will pay for up to seven subjects at O-Level and three subjects at A-Level, and candidates who want to sit for more subjects at each level will meet the full fees of those subjects themselves,” Mathema said.
Candidates at private schools and colleges, including candidates who are re-sitting, were exempted from the scheme.