The Teacher’s Union in Zimbabwe have rejected a call by the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for governments to reopen schools.
Sifiso Ndlovu, the head of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, said he is “worried” that UNICEF has not looked at his country’s lack of preparedness to reopen schools.
“The safety issues that we have been concerned about in the schools have not been met thoroughly as to guarantee safe and healthy reopening of schools without high incidents of COVID-19. Secondly, UNICEF seem to be oblivious that the learning conditions for students is also dependent on the working conditions of the teachers and above all it should be supported by budgetary support even from UNICEF,” he said.
Mohamed Malick Fall, regional director for UNICEF in Eastern and Southern Africa, urged governments in the region to open schools closed earlier this year following an outbreak of coronavirus.
Fall said the pandemic has caused “an unprecedented education crisis” over the last seven months as radio and online learning methods are not reaching all the students. Some also lost the daily meals they were receiving at school.
And that’s not all, said Fall.
“Lost learning hurts children and community, teenage pregnancy and violence against children increase. Now we acknowledge the safe reopening of schools will not be easy. While evidence show that children are not the main driver of the pandemic, there will be cases of COVID-19 in school(s). It will not be a practice in perfection. But it can be done with community commitment, government leadership and investment,” he said.