WINDHOEK, 06 APril 2020-The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Anna Nghipondoka, on Friday last week announced that all Namibian schools will reopen on the 20th of April 2020 amid the rising cases of coronavirus infections world wide including in Namibia.
The Minister’s announcement was also confirmed by Executive Director of the ministry Sanet Steenkamp during talk of the nation show on NBC television this morning.
Steenkamp said that they are expecting all teachers to be at schools on 20 April as the ministry is looking for E-learning modality to make sure education continues despite the fear of pandemic.
This announcement was received with mixed feelings by public, including the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) which described the decision as provoking fear and confusion among the nation.
SPYL Secretary for Education Hofni Iipinge said that the presence of confusion is amplified by the ever present threat of the deadly Covid-19 virus to the wellbeing of, predominantly, the Namibian child and everyone attached to them.
Iipinge further said while these pandemic fears remain justifiable given the times in which we find ourselves in the global community, it is pertinent for us as a nation to remain calm like the rest of the world, he stressed.
SPYL also criticized the Minister of Education for challenging the decision of government and the World Health Organisation (WHO), stressing that “she does not have the power to change any decisions of the World Health Organization (WHO) on implementation and mitigating the effects of Covid-19 they way Namibian government adopted it”.
SPYL education Secretary further suggested that if the lockdown is lifted by 17 April 2020, all stakeholders need to work out modalities on how to go back to schools while putting in place modalities to ensure the safety of teachers and learners.
Iipinge also questioned the possibility of teachers and principals going to schools in groups of less than 10 while applying social distancing to adress curriculum related issues and many other activities, before suggesting that Education Minister Anna Nghipondoka extend school holidays since coronavirus is still a serious threat and seek proper advise and guidance from the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
SPYL also urged those wishing to contribute to the fight against Covid – 19 to do so patriotically in a spirit of respect, mutual understanding and unity.
“Let’s stay at home, wash our hands and observe the order and regulations of the State of Emergency as declared by our President Dr. Hage Geingob” he concluded