Private school owners under the banner Private Schools Association of Malawi (PRISAM) have pleaded with government to reconsider its decision on the suspension of school reopening in Blantyre and Lilongwe saying there is no evidence that students are at more risk of contracting Cholera at school than at home.
As announced earlier, all schools in Malawi were expected to reopen on Tuesday January 3rd, 2023 after a three-week long holiday. However, the taskforce suspended the reopening of Blantyre and Lilongwe primary and secondary schools on grounds of rising cases of cholera outbreak.
Speaking during a media briefing on Monday in Blantyre, Vice President of the association Patricia Chisi, described the decision as a setback to students studying in the two cities especially those who are set to sit for their PSLCE, JCE and MSCE this year.
Chisi appealed to the taskforce to allow students in exam classes so that they should not be left behind the syllabus.
Echoing Chisi’s sentiments was one of Prisam trustees Hestings Boyce Moloko who said it is worrisome that only Lilongwe and Blantyre students are the victims despite the outbreak affecting the entire nation.
Moloko wondered why the taskforce has only suspended the reopening of Blantyre and Lilongwe primary and secondary schools and not colleges and universities where he said the outbreak can as well extend to.
He further expressed worry that the taskforce announced the change when some other students were already in transit to their respective schools and wondered why the taskforce announced the decision at the eleventh hour when cholera has been there for sometime.
The Trustee has since asked government through the taskforce to reconsider the decision on grounds that there is no evidence that children are more at risk of contracting cholera at school than at their homes.
“The playing field is not level, it is schools in Blantyre and Lilongwe that have been affected. While our students are not learning, students elsewhere across the country will be learning and yet they will sit for the same exams, they will be disadvantaged.
“We are concerned that the announcement came too late when students were already on buses. We wonder why primary and secondary schools only, are college and university students cholera immune? We think students are more controllable when at schools than at home, so that’s why we say let the taskforce reconsider its decision,” said Moloko
According to Moloko, the same situation happened during Covid-19 pandemic where he said a rushed decision was made and the consequences to the education sector were extreme.
A concerned parent Kelvin Kasanga told journalists at the same briefing that the decision is incompetent claiming Blantyre and Lilongwe have civilised students who can be able to follow the preventive measures than elsewhere.
Kasanga then pleaded with the taskforce to allow schools in Lilongwe and Blantyre to open and intensify cholera vaccination campaign.
In Malawi, Cholera has killed over 600 peoplea and 25 people died of cholera yesterday alone.
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