By Andile Tshuma
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development has with immediate effect suspended face to face lectures at universities and colleges as part of measures to minimise the risk of contracting Covid-19.
The institutions are now restricted to online learning but final year students have been allowed to finish writing their examinations.
All students have been given up to Friday to vacate halls of residence and the ministry said it will ensure all institutions have resources and necessary infrastructure for e-learning.
The Higher and Tertiary Education permanent secretary Professor Fanuel Tagwira said the decision to suspend face to face lectures was in response to the increasing Covid-19 cases.
“It is now observed that Covid-19 cases are escalating daily and this may put the lives of students and members of staff in our institutions at high risk” he said.
Prof Tagwira said a lecturer at Chinhoyi University of Technology had tested positive to Covid-19 prompting the ministry to act decisively to protect lecturers and students.
“These are different times. The health of the student and of tertiary institutions staff is vital. So, we are therefore putting health first and ensuring that we migrate to online learning as we put public health first. The events of the past week show that we cannot risk having students going for lectures at our colleges which recently opened.
“As for non-final year students at universities, they had not yet reopened as their lectures were suspended during the first leg of the lockdown. So, their opening is deferred until further notice,” said Professor Tagwira.
He said authorities at the various institutions were working with the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company to facilitate transport for students returning home.
Prof Tagwira said the ministry had also engaged security services to ensure that final year students were allowed to pass through roadblocks to write exams at their respective campuses.
Some university of Zimbabwe students reportedly failed to sit for an exam yesterday after they were denied to pass a check point despite producing student identification cards. The Chronicle