By Vusumuzi Dube
The Government has warned teachers against conducting physical extra lessons as they risk being prosecuted for violating Covid-19 containment regulations, it has been learnt.
The move comes amid uncertainty over the new opening dates, as figures of Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the country with some teachers having resorted to offering extra lesson services to pupils for an extra penny.
In an interview, director of communications in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro said teachers were fully aware that the only lessons that had been permitted to date were the ones conducted online.
He said it was therefore mischievous and criminal for anyone to conduct physical classes as this would derail the Government efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are clear when it comes to the issue of extra lessons. We have made it clear that only online lessons have been permitted. Physical lessons, where teachers gather pupils at some location are illegal as there will be no mechanism to monitor adherence to guidelines so that they do not become spreaders of this pandemic.
“Therefore, teachers who are conducting these lessons are liable for prosecution for defying Covid-19 lockdown regulations,” said Mr Ndoro.
Mr Ndoro said measures put forward by the Government were not meant to disadvantage pupils but were to protect them against contracting the Covid-19 virus.
“The reason we are emphasizing on online classes for now is that for physical classes to take place there is a need for the setting up and adherence to set Standard Operating Procedures, which will be monitored by the responsible authorities to ensure that pupils and teachers are not unnecessarily exposed to this pandemic.
“Our call, therefore is for the teachers to be responsible and not be pushed by greed to conduct these physical lessons, while at the same time exposing themselves and their pupils to the pandemic,” said Mr Ndoro.
The Government, early this month deferred the opening of schools to a date to be announced due to the spike in Covid-19 cases. Only examination writing classes were allowed to open just to finish their final exams.
Schools were initially scheduled to reopen on Monday last week for the first term of 2021 closing on March 24.
Several schools recorded an increase in Covid-19 cases among pupils and teachers last term forcing some schools to prematurely close.
Last year, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Cde Monica Mutsvangwa warned teachers offering extra lessons that they were breaking the law and will face the full wrath of the law should they be caught.
“Some teachers are illegally conducting extra lessons in violation of lockdown regulations. Such practices will endanger the lives of the children in question and should be stopped forthwith,” Minister Mutsvangwa was quoted as having said. The Sunday News