Now is the right time to resume learning and reopen schools

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Students refilling a hand washing jerrycan

The long delayed re-opening of primary and secondary schools even though partially is a positive step in the right direction.

The dithering and muddled up Cabinet Secretary for Education Prof. George Magoha should now come clean and ensure the schools receive without any delay the financial capitations to facilitate the smooth, effective and speedy adjustment and take off of the learning by the learners who have lost ground for seven months.

Yes it is going to be a process for the learners, the tutors, the parents to return to the rhythm smoothness that the schooling process they were in before the tumultuous and abrupt halt of the learning process occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. It calls for patience, adjustments, soberness, sacrifice, common sense and being practical in the circumstances of each learning institution. This is the time for the school principals, teachers, parents, County education managers of the National Government to all show maturity leadership, understanding.

COVID-19 pandemic is not declared over yet. There is no cure. It therefore behoves every parent to have a conversation, a one on one discussion with his or her child on how to conduct himself or herself in school for those who are boarders and in and out of school for those who are day scholars. The key, the most important lesson, take home for learners is that they will have to exhibit a high personal sense of discipline and avoid situations that may expose them to COVID-19. We have all to remain alert and alive to the risks of COVID-19 but we must equally step forward and get going with life’s chores, tasks including learning as COVID-19 may be around longer than hoped.

Tanzania has had its schools open since June 2020 and that must give us as a nation the hope and confidence that if we remain sensible, practical and prudent we should be able to resume the schooling calendar successfully. It is indeed the teachers who are nearing the retirement age of 60 years who must be extra vigilant as they are a high risk group together with those with pre-existing conditions. Let all of us in whatever role, be it teachers, parents, those who look after the school boarders those who transport the day scholars rally together, ensure the safety of the learners and protect them from situations that are avoidable that may expose them to COVID-19.

We must be optimistic that the restart of learning in our schools will work. COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses in the infrastructure and organization of our learning environment and we must start addressing those challenges as we go along improvising with what we have now.