By Style Reporter
A LOCAL teachers’ organisation, Young Professional Educators of Zimbabwe (YPEZ), says it welcomes government’s call to immediately close schools and all learning institutions in view of the Covid-19 outbreak that is fast spreading and has claimed thousands of lives across the globe.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday announced that schools and other learning institutions would close on Tuesday, a week before the scheduled dates, as part of government’s precautionary measures to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the country.
Mnangagwa said his decree on schools and learning institutions followed concerns from parents, as well as representations by the educational sector.
Speaking to Standard Style, YPEZ founder and executive director Saymore Masaisai (pictured) said they were happy as an organisation because the government had listened to their call.
“With new cases being reported in Africa and neighbouring countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe has to be on high alert,” Masaisai said.
“The current measures taken by the government of Zimbabwe like banning gatherings are highly commendable.
“We called on relevant authorities to facilitate immediate closure of all learning institutions in the country and the President took heed of the call.”
Masaisai said it was his organisation’s hope that government and all relevant stakeholders, including development agencies, would be receptive to their call in view of the ravaging impact of the coronavirus.
“We are living in dangerous times and it was our hope that the President, Cabinet and other educational stakeholders like World Bank Group Zimbabwe, Unicef, World Health Organisation, Ministry of Health and Child Care and all diplomatic missions in Zimbabwe would find this petition relevant and give a positive response to our call for closing of schools,” he said.
“Our deepest desire was not for us to wait to have confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe so that we can start responding.”
The young advocate said it was important for the local authorities to avoid burying their heads in the sand like ostriches in the face of the pandemic.
“One wise man said, ’if a train is coming at you, closing your eyes won’t save you, but if you look right at it, you at least have a chance to jump’,” he said.
Masaisai, whose organisation has undertaken various advocacy initiatives in Zimbabwe including contributions to the quality of curriculum and inclusive education, said it was important for government to be more proactive given how deadly coronavirus is.
He said they were also calling on all citizens to remain calm and adhere to advice and counsel from professional health practitioners.
YPEZ is a registered non-profit organisation which seeks to promote achievement of equitable and sustainable education in Zimbabwe through advocacy, educational research and continuous teacher capacity development. It is an organisation of young teachers who have a drive for community building and life-long learning opportunities for all. It was founded in 2016.