Gwanda State University (GSU) has been accused of ignoring the COVID-19 pandemic, by opening the institution during a lockdown to stop the spread of the pandemic.
By Silas Nkala
In addition, the university’s lecturers, 16 of them, are said to be cramped up in a small room, in oblivion of social distancing rules.
“About 8 Teaching Assistants occupy a foyer with 2 tables. The Computer Lab, which has 3 functional computers is used by about 7 to 8 lecturers who want faster connectivity. Staff in the Works Department shares a poorly ventilated cubicle at an average of 10 in one room,” the source had said.
“A public office originally meant for chairpersons at the admin block is used by six to eight members,” a source at the institution said.
“The university must have made efforts to address the issue of office space for employees before making this wild and wayward decision.
“The university authorities should have waited for the Head of State to announce the official government position regarding reopening of Universities.”.
GSU spokesperson, Walter Ndlovu confirmed that all staff members were directed to report for work on May 4.
He said the motive behind was to enable easier and more effective supervision and coordination of efforts in the execution of the development of online teaching materials and modalities.
“Lecturers were also to receive some training on online teaching as well as online handling of assignments and examinations.
“We also intended to make thorough preparations for the possible return of students, to coordinate and facilitate the involvement and participation of our members of staff who are serving on various provincial and national committees working on COVID 19 activities,” Ndlovu said.
“It was meant to also prepare to receive returnees from neighbouring countries and beyond given that the university was identified as one of the quarantine sites in the Insiza District.”
He said unlike other universities, GSU was able to accommodate its staff on its campus, as they had a small staff complement.
“Issues of social distancing are therefore easy to observe,” Ndlovu said.
“Staff responded to the call to report for work overwhelmingly and work on the aforementioned tasks and others are proceeding well.”
He denied that 16 people were sharing an office.