As the country eases the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown with, amongst others, the re-opening of schools, local tertiary institutions say they are ready to welcome students back and commence lessons.
Both public and private institutions are set to re-open from June 2, 2020 if they have satisfied the COVID-19 guidelines set by the Ministry of Health and Wellness after a two-month recess due to the deadly virus.
Business Botswana Education Sector chairperson, Golekanye Setume said all private institutions would be ready to re-open next month.
He told The Monitor that at the moment institutions are putting in place measures to fully comply with health protocols and guidelines, which include temperature screening, sanitisation, regular washing of hands with soap and water, amongst others.
He stated that already all private tertiary institutions are already open to their staff with a view to prepare for reopening to students.
Setume said institutions have different re-opening dates of campuses for students, which is something being communicated to all their key stakeholders through several platforms. He also emphasised the need to not take any chances and compromise on protocols.
“Social distancing is not an option for any institution but is compulsory in line with strict health protocols and guidelines and hence institutions are adjusting their class schedules, which include reduction of class sizes to ensure full compliance with social distancing doctrine. In some cases class sizes are already small to easily facilitate social distancing,” Setume said.
He said councils would inspect every institution from time to time to ensure there is compliance.
“They were also advised to conduct a rigorous self-assessment in line with guidelines provided by government.
Some institutions such as Limkokwing University of Creative Technology have already issued a memo stating that they are planning to reopen on June 2 although subject to regulatory compliance.
“The university in consultation with the SRC will be working with the Botswana Qualifications Authority in managing the reopening process.
The university is also working on ensuring that all teaching and learning spaces are prepared in line with the expectations of the health authorities for the safety of all concerned,” read a memo by the school management.
This week when addressing the media, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Theophilus Mooko said institutions would also adopt a staggered approach when they open, with first year students being catered for by readjustment of school calendars.
“We need to manage the new normal, but I would like to assure the nation that as we restructure the academic year, the integrity and quality of courses’ content will not be compromised,” he said.
However, he said applications for scholarships would be determined by whether or not social distancing protocols have ended, as online application for scholarship was not yet possible.