Yes, Malawi schools must open, but September is irrationally abrupt   

President Lazarus Chakwera has hinted on the decision to open schools—primary, secondary and tertiary—this coming September.

Controversial as it sounds, with the background of continued rise in COVID-19 cases being registered, we support President Chakwera’s decision but we disagree with going ahead in September.

The decision to open schools hinges on two aspects: the risk of opening the schools and the costs of keeping closed.

In our qualitative assessment, as Nyasa Times, we feel the risk of opening the schools is low to the learners health; and the costs of keeping them closed is huge both to the country’s economy and also to the progress of our society large.

Let’s, in the first place, examine the risk of opening the school.

The greatest risk of opening the school lies in mass exposure of the learners, through increased mobility and congestion, to contracting and spreading COVID-19.

Very true.

However, if we open these schools in phases, for instance start with primary school, there is scientific glory we can run on. Science tells us that the risk of children—especially from birth to about 18—contracting or spreading COVID-19 is quite negligible.

To mean, with proper safety measures starting from transportation, decongestion of classrooms, mass use of masks, sanitization and limiting time for lessons, we may return normalcy.

In other words, the risk we have with opening schools is an issue which can be handled with careful planning and cautious execution.

However, the cost of keeping these schools closed is getting huge with each passing day.

Pitiful cases of young girls getting unwanted and unplanned pregnant continue to skyrocket and, we all know, the repercussion of multiplying poverty these cases are.

You should also be concerned with the welfare of people working in the private schools sector—teachers, support staff, unskilled laborers, etc; for how long will they suffer without even a bailout from government?

We should think of the disruption of having learners, especially younger ones, out of classroom for some time. We are nursing a generation that will be unskilled and uneducated, because many will lose interest in the relevance of education.

This list explaining the costs of keeping schools closed is long; you can add to it.

That is why, it is our submission that government needs to start laying out plans to open schools now and, when exhausted, government should come up with realistic dates of executing their plan.

September is abruptly too soon for a cautious execution of school’s opening. We need, at least, two months to careful handle the opening of the schools.

Otherwise the risk of opening the schools is low; the cost of keeping them closed is huge. Schools must open.

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1 year ago

Can government also go ahead to shield itself to future lawsuits should indeed opening schools prove to be a disaster.

1 year ago

Let finalists write exams first hence they will create room for others.

1 year ago

Who will want to put his child for experimentation, if the cases rise,they close,but what about the affected and dead? Being pregnant is a choice, so let’s not give it as an excuse. Pregnancy you open up,vivid it’s not by choice.

1 year ago
Reply to  Kwaniki

Don’t send your child to school, mine are going. You mean if cases of COVID-19 don’t subside then schools will remain closed forever? In countries where they have opened schools, sporting activities resumed, are there no cases of corona virus? Talk has erupted about girls and boys get married in thousands, you mean this is what you want? Mulungu akuyendere mwapadera.

Richard Steel
Richard Steel
1 year ago

Good advice. However the assumption is that planning to open schools is starting now, and therefore the two months period can be realistic. What if the planning started months ago, since even the writer does not know what exactly is taking place behind doors? Do you think the president can just wake up today and say we are opening schools early September without any planning? I thought the writer was going to be concerned with issues that may and are already surfacing, those of demands for risk allowances by teachers; cost of the face masks for every child or student,… Read more »

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