World Vision Malawi (WVM) has been assured that schools will open once it is considered safe from the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
Minister of Gender, Disability and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati made the assurance on Wednesday during a Press Conference on weighing up risks of School closure and reopening under the Covid-19 pandemic at World Vision Malawi (WVM) Offices in Lilongwe.
She said if registered Covid-19 cases are reducing the Ministry would consider the situation to be safe and could decide to open schools.
The Minister said WVM has expressed concern that over 90 percent of students in the country have been affected by the closure of schools.
“It’s not just an issue of opening of schools but we are looking at the protection of our children. The April 2020, United Nations Scientific Organization (UNESCO) report has provided an overview of the current situation that we need to be looking into,” Kaliati said.
She added that in America, Schools were opened but they have been closed due to the rise in number of Covid-19 cases.
“We can draw some lessons from that that a development nation tried to open schools but have been forced to close them. As a third world country, we need to take necessary steps when we want to arrive at a decision to open schools,” the Minister stated.
Kaliati said all stakeholders need to adhere to Covid-19 measures in order to reduce cases; such as maintaining social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands regularly.
Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda described WVM’s call as a genuine concern.
She said WVM has raised the issues of teenage pregnancy and early marriages among girls in most parts of the country as a result of the closure of schools.
Chiponda said to address the issue there was need to engage traditional leaders, parents, guardians and other stakeholders in order to overcome the current situation.
WVM Director of Operations, Charles Chimombo said three sectors namely education, child protection and health need to take a centre stage in considering the re-opening of schools.
He said WVM wants to ensure that children and youth continue to access education and life skills in a matter that does not make them vulnerable to Covid-19.
Over summer holiday, children normally lose between 20 and 50 percent of the skills gained during the school year.