Despite rising concerns over the safety of pupils in schools, the government has declared readiness to administer public examinations beginning next week after putting in place adequate measures informed by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, to curb the spread of Covid-19.

In keeping with social distancing rules, examinations will be sat for from more classrooms and spacious halls to minimise chances of spreading the virus.

This week, Government announced the release of a further $150 million to needy schools to improve sanitation.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema said the June exams were conducted successfully and this time around, schools had improved their response.

He said they were expecting a similar outcome in the second round of public exams scheduled for this December and assured parents that all the requirements would be adhered to.

All the measures needed to hold the examinations in a safe environment, have been put in place and examinations will be starting in December as scheduled,” said Minister Mathema.

Protective clothing for learners and teachers is now in place and we expect to hold exams successfully like we did in June. I want to assure parents, guardians and all stakeholders that everything is in place for holding successful examinations.

For schools with confirmed Covid-19 cases, Minister Mathema said measures were in place to isolate, as well as take care of any arising cases.

Speaking after this week’s Cabinet meeting, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said authorities were strengthening protective and preventative measures in boarding school environments.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education with technical support from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, is organising logistics for implementing practical measures to minimise the recurrence of the John Tallach School experience in other boarding schools,” he said.

Measures included reviewing the maximum carrying capacity of all boarding hostels, conducting detailed inspection of boarding facilities and targeted training of hostel matrons, boarding masters, as well as kitchen staff.

Calls to proceed with examinations have been growing from various sectors as preventing pupils from going to the next grade would clog their streams.

National Association of Primary Heads president Mrs Cynthia Khumalo said the major challenge was the disrupted learning time for students because of Covid-19 mitigatory measures.

National Association of Secondary Heads president Mr Arthur Maposa said they might not be ready to manage the big numbers of examination classes.

Credit: Herald

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