Private school defies Government as it re-opens

Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cain Mathema.


MUTASA – Efforts to fight the spread of Corona virus seem to have been punctured as some private schools have re-opened against Government`s directive for all schools to open on July 28 2020.
Knowstics Group of Schools in Mutasa District, Manicaland Province is one of the private schools which have re-opened classes for students across the board.

Schools have been closed since March when the government ordered a national lockdown, in order to combat the spread of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

An official who answered the phone at Knowstics when The Mirror called for a comment confirmed that the school is now open. She said their school is different from other schools before saying she was not in a position to comment further or refer the reporter to her superiors.

“Knowstics is now open across the board. It was a decision taken by our school and unfortunately I cannot comment on behalf of other schools which are yet to open. I am not in a position to comment further and I am not allowed to refer you to my superiors” said the official.

Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cain Mathema told The Mirror that no school has been allowed to open before July 28 2020 as earlier directed by Cabinet. He said he will investigate Knowstics and if it is true the school will be deregistered.
“No school has been allowed to open before July 28, 2020. Any school that has opened is violating the lockdown measures. We are going to investigate the issue and if it is true we will deregister the school. I issued a statement last week and that is still the position which should apply to all schools in the country.” said Mathema.

In a notice issued on July 3, 2020 Mathema warned authorities of trust schools, private schools and independent colleges that his ministry will not hesitate to de-register their institutions should they continue to defy Government directives on the re-opening of schools.

Recently government announced that the exam writing classes will be the first to return to school. However, the decision to write exams this year met resistance from teachers’ unions as most schools were being used as quarantine centres for returning residents from abroad.

According to an inspection report prepared by Victor Nyamandi, a Director of Environmental Health Services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care dated June 30 2020 which is in the possession of The Mirror; Knowstics Boys’ has 167 pupils with five sharing a room.

Knowstics Girls’ has six blocks. Five of the blocks have 31 rooms with each room accommodating two students. One of the blocks has 19 rooms with three students sharing a room. All the students share ablution facilities as well as dining halls.

The opening of the private school comes as the country is witnessing an upsurge in COVID-19 cases mostly from returnees. As of yesterday (Thursday) the country had 926 confirmed cases.

The country recorded 98 new cases of people infected with the deadly virus on Wednesday which is the biggest figure recorded in a day since March this year. The rise in locally transmitted infections has invited renewed calls for government to re-impose a tighter national lockdown.

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