Covid-19 lockdown: Government announces when polytechnics and teachers’ colleges will reopen


POLYTECHNICS, teachers’ colleges and industrial training colleges will reopen in phases starting next Monday.

The universities reopened last month and the reopening of colleges will be followed by schools which again will be reopened in phases starting on July 28.

Institutions of higher learning and schools closed on March 24 as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Government has been preparing for the reopening of schools and tertiary institutions by ensuring the institutions have adequate PPE, enough space to allow for social distancing, facilities for regular washing of hands and sanitisers.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development announced the staggered reopening of colleges.

The students have been put into two groups made up of students studying technical subjects and those doing commercial courses.

Polytechnics, teachers’ colleges and industrial training colleges will reopen in phases starting on July 13.

The Ministry said the reopening of the colleges takes into cognisance the need to protect lives from Covid-19 and follows World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health and Child Care pandemic prevention measures.

“Tertiary education institutions will open on 13 July 2020 beginning with final year students who are examination candidates. All HEXCO programmes National Certificate, National Diploma and Higher National Diploma are terminal and students are supposed to write examinations in November 2020,” reads the statement.

The ministry said the institutions will be decongested as part of the Covid-19 prevention measures as had been done with universities.

“The ministry has worked with both public and private tertiary education institutions to develop minimum precautions for Covid-19 response and preparedness plan for implementation. Tertiary education students shall be returning to campus in phases to resume their studies,” said the ministry.

“The delivery of lectures/lessons shall be done through blended learning. Whilst those awaiting their return to campus and still at home shall learn through online platforms. Local telecommunication companies have chipped in with zero rated data bundles to alleviate the plight of students on data fees.”

College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr David Dzatsunga said it was too early to comment on the latest development.

“This basically depends on individual colleges whether they have capacity to reopen but what is critical is that our members should insist that the environments should be safe.

“The other issue is that a few of the colleges have been used as quarantine centres but we have been made to understand that Government is now clearing the returnees from the centres in preparation for the re-opening,” said Mr Dzatsunga.

The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) June examinations started last week.

— Chronicle

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