BY NIZBERT MOYO
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu yesterday described the recently ended third term in the school calendar as a nightmare due to the effects of COVID-19.
Ndlovu told NewsDay that teachers and students faced a lot of challenges, with most of them fearing to go into classrooms as COVID-19 cases began to surface at learning institutions after schools reopened in October.
He said schools were reopened without proper preparations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“The school term was bedevilled by lack of preparedness by both learners and teachers and most of them hesitated to get into classrooms in fear of the contagion,” Ndlovu said.
“There were inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), lack of social distancing as there was inadequate classroom space, lack of testing and screening, which resulted in in-person learning becoming a nightmare.”
The Zimta boss said there was a lot of anxiety among teachers and pupils, which was further stoked by the detection of COVID-19 infections at some schools.
He said the situation at schools was further worsened by the chaos in tuition and examination preparations, where there was not enough learning before children sat for final examinamtions.
“Examples of shoddy examination preparations are inadequacy of examination scripts, crammed timetables, poor scripts with missing pages and conflicting times between timetables and registration programmes,” he said.
Statistics show that over 300 cases of COVID-19 were recorded at different schools throughout the country during the third term, sparking fears that schools were not safe for learning and teaching.
Some infected students ended up writing examinations in isolation rooms. School authorities were also not spared by the COVID-19 infection.
Meanwhile, government has announced that term one will commence on January 4 next year.