AFTER more than two months schools and colleges closing in the wake of Coronavirus crisis, Form Six and higher learning institutions' students in Tanzania are resuming classes today with clues that they are well prepared to make a major comeback.
Tanzania has become the first country in East African region to ease restrictions and allow the education sector to resume activities after it successfully fought the global pandemic.
However, Schools and varsities have maintained that they have made necessary preparations as preventive measures, which would see that no student gets infected.
Talking to the ‘Daily News’ yesterday in Dodoma, the University of Dodoma (UDOM) Vice Chancellor, Prof Faustine Bee, said the institution welcomed the government’s decision and classes would resume as scheduled.
He said already they had put arrangements in place that would enable staff including lecturers, and students to have a conducive environment for learning.
“On our part we had already started preparations to continue with classes and we were only waiting for a green light. We will be emphasizing on guidelines given by the government’s experts on how to protect students from the disease,” said Prof Bee.
He said the arrangement will go along with educating the students and staff of measures to take to avoid contracting the disease.
Considering the big population of people at the university, the UDOM started producing its own sanitisers, which would address demand at the institution.
Equally, the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) also said it had done several preparations enough to make classes resume, while taking professional measures against the Covid-19.
Speaking when former President and currently UDSM Chancellor, Dr Jakaya Kikwete visited the 'Magufuli Hostels’ in Dar es Salaam, the UDSM Vice Chancellor, Prof William Anangisye said the reopening of the institution today would be a continuation of 2019/20 academic year started in November last year.
“We thank the government for its decision to open higher learning institutions and we have well organised ourselves to ensure that classes resume without any problem,” he pointed out.
However, Prof Anangisye asked the students not to remain at home, and cautioned them to continue observing precautionary measures while at the university premises, including wearing face masks, regular washing hand or sanitising their hands.
On his part, Mzumbe University Vice Chancellor, Prof Lughano Kusilika, assured the public that the university would implement all the guidelines issued by the government to protect the students against the disease.
Prof Kusilika further said the university by 98 per cent had completed necessary preparations and ready to receive the students.
Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) Vice Chancellor, Prof Costa Mahalu said the university had fixed enough hand washing facilities at different points at the institution, which enable the students to wash their hands as many times as possible.
“When entering university premises every student must wear a face mask,” Prof Mahalu stated.
The same opinion was expressed for Advanced Secondary Schools by a teacher at Benjamin Mkapa School, Mr Kasonde Mafuru, who said that the institution would insist on social distancing, particularly sitting arrangement in classes.
“We will make sure that there is a distance of one metre from one student to another,’ Mr Mafuru added.
The Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children issued guidelines for schools and universities as students report today to resume classes.
Among other guidelines, the schools and colleges would have medicine and equipment for any emergency and as well control students’ supplies such as towels and toiletries.
For students who would be suspected of having symptoms of Coronavirus at schools or colleges, their managements have been advised to report to the nearest health care centre for further diagnosis and treatment.
Meanwhile, Education, Science and Technology Ministry warned academic institutions against seeking extra payments as students return to schools contrary to the agreed models.
The Minister in the portfolio, Prof Joyce Ndalichako said as the world continues to battle Covid-19, parents should not be asked to make any extra payments to schools and colleges, and that her office will keenly make a close follow up on the matter.