The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, says all decisions for return to school will be based on proven science and public health expert expertise with the best interests of the learners and teachers.
The Ministry says this was discussed and resolved during a meeting attended by representatives from UNIMA, LUANAR, MIJ, ISAMA, CSEC among others for the development partners and school associations need to analyse the impact of school closure and the return to learning held in Blantyre on Tuesday, 13th May, 2020.
The meeting resolutions were guided by global standards developed by UNICEF in collaboration with UNESCO, World Bank and WFP saying while the re- opening of schools is in the best interest of the child, there is also need for overall public health considerations based on assessment of the associated benefits and risk- informed by cross-sectoral and context specific evidence.
This is contained in a statement on resolutions passed on the outcomes of the national stakeholders planning meeting on possibilities of re- opening schools in the wake of COVID-19.
In a statement, the Ministry is reminding the general public and all stakeholders that all schools and colleges were closed on 23rd March, 2020 with a view to protect learners, students, teachers and parents from contacting Coronavirus.
“The Ministry is extremely grateful to the people of Malawi for adhering to this call as all schools remain closed,”reads part of a statement.
The Ministry says it is aware that schools closed ahead of the scheduled closure by 2 weeks and the new term was meant to begin on 20th April, 2020 to run until 24th July, 2020( 14 weeks).
The statement says the Ministry has extended this period of school closure to support the national efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19, saying during this time, the Ministry has with the support of Private Sector partners : TNM, Airtel and development partners including UNICEF rolled out online and distance education programmes through radio and TV, also the education sector has developed a national response plan that will see an effective and recovery phase to COVID-19 pandemic effect .
Meanwhile, a National Planning Taskforce with membership drawn from the academia, civil society, MDAs, among others, has been formed for better coordination efforts in the fight against COVID-19 in the education sector.