Grouping threaten vigils over BT, LL schools’ extended holiday


Concerned parents together with Union of Private School Teachers (UPST) have threatened to hold vigils at ministry of education’s office in Lilongwe if Blantyre and Lilongwe schools remain closed on Monday, 9th January, 2023.

On Monday morning, the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Cholera announced that opening of primary and secondary schools in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe will delay by at least two weeks due to continued rising of cholera cases.

The development ignited debate as some parties faulted the taskforce for the late decision which is said to disadvantage Blantyre and Lilongwe students especially those who are expected to write their national examinations this year.

As various quarters continue to pressing authorities to allow Blantyre and Lilongwe schools reopen, UPST together with some concerned parents in the two districts has threatened vigils at the ministry of education office in Lilongwe.

A press statement which has been signed by UPST president and secretary, Paul Kasanga and Andrew Maliro respectively, together with three concerned parents representatives, says Blantyre and Lilongwe schools should be allowed to follow measures being used by other schools that have opened.

They have since given ministries of education and health 48 hours to respond to their call that Blantyre and Lilongwe schools be opened next Monday failing which, they will mobilise other groups to hold vigils.

“To that end, the UPST and the aforementioned concerned parents, are therefore, asking Ministries of Health and Education respectively to reconsider the decision and revoke statement they made on Monday, the 2nd January, 2023 and announce that the opening of the concerned schools be on Monday, the 9th January, 2023.

“We are giving the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health forty-eight hours to respond to us. Failure of which, we, together with different concerned groups and students of Blantyre and Lilongwe who are affected with the erroneous decision, will hold a vigil at the minister of education’s office in Lilongwe,” reads part of the statement.

However, while admitting that the suspension has inconvenienced learners and parents, Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, on Tuesday insisted that schools provide a fertile environment for cholera which is spread due to prevailing poor hygiene.

As of Wednesday, January 4th, 2023 the diarrhoeal infection which started in March last year, has claimed at least 643 lives with 18 new deaths recorded in the last 24 hours and 19, 141 cumulative cases confirmed across the country.

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