Following the closure of learning institutions, Tumasera Primary School attempted to keep their Standard 7 pupils in school as they are trailing behind.
The School Head, Mma Kolanyane wrote to parents requesting that they allow their children to come to school. Basic Education Minister, Fidelis Molao has quashed the move and said no students should attend school.
Speaking to The Monitor, Kolanyane said they were worried about the performance of their students just as they are with COVID-19.
“We are equally concerned about the virus as everybody else, but our students are really behind. Standard Seven teachers came to me stating that they needed to keep the students in school as they are far behind their syllabus.
We then agreed that we would monitor the situation and if the break takes long we would love to have the PSLE leavers in class,” she said.
Kolanyane said they would try by all means to minimise the spread as they have been doing by encouraging good hygiene amongst students and teachers.
Contacted to comment on the arrangement and any other that could be planned by other schools, Molao said they would not allow that. “We are not going to take any risk by allowing any students in schools. We will follow the health ministry’s advice until we are directed otherwise,” he said.
Quizzed as to whether they will push
Teacher unions, Botswana Sectors of Educator Trade Union (BOSETU) and Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), were adamant that all educational institutions should be closed. The Ministry of Basic Education initially called for a closer monitoring and observation of the situation before a decision was taken to close all learning institutions.
“Educational institutions are by nature densely populated and allowing them to remain operational runs against the preventative moratorium imposed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, especially the suspension of more than 50 people, and that people should keep a distance of about one metre from each other,” BOSETU secretary general, Tobokani Rari wrote in a statement.
“These preventative measures are unattainable in learning institutions, and it is quite clear that allowing educational institutions to remain open under this COVID-19 situation in our country, exposes workers (teachers) to hazardous conditions.”
BOSETU also argued that government would not be able to provide all schools with sanitisers and the fact that the water shortage in many of the schools would increase the risk.