Sat, 24 Oct 2020

LUSAKA, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Esnala Sakala is a sixteen-year-old pupil at Ng'ombe Basic Schools in Lusaka, the Zambian capital who was found running to school on the first day of its reopening after closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bubbling pupil is teeming with excitement and anxiety and cannot wait to sit on a desk after such a long time of just staying at home.

"It is good news that we are opening schools because life in society has not been good to me. I am so excited and I can't wait to sit on my desk and start learning," she said in an interview.

She noted that the closure of schools since March this year when the pandemic broke out has resulted in many pupils engaging in mischief.

"Some of them lost hope in school especially girls to the extent of getting pregnant. For boys, they started engaging in drug abuse," she added.

According to her, the reopening of schools will allow the pupils to spend more time in school and hence reduce engagement in bad vices.

John Banda from Olympia Secondary School also welcomed the reopening of schools as this has dispelled myths that have been circulating that schools will only reopen next year.

"It is great that schools are reopening because some of the pupils were slowly becoming dull," he said.

Zambia National Education Coalition Executive Director George Hamusunga said the organization was extremely pleased with the government's decision to reopen all schools.

"We are glad that the president has listened to our call in a timely manner and we are positive that the action taken by the government will help in mitigating the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the education sector," he said in a release.

He, however, urged all schools to put in place preventive health measures in order to curtail any spike of the pandemic in schools and urged the education to release funds to all schools to enable them to prepare adequately.

In his address to the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, the Zambian president said he heard the cries from all stakeholders hence the decision to call for the reopening of the schools.

The Zambian leader acknowledged the negative effects the closing of schools has left on the learners.

Schools were closed in March when the country recorded its COVID-19 cases as part of efforts to combat the pandemic. The government reopened examination classes in June.

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