Govt not certain of reopening schools-opts for case by case analysis

Minister of Education, Hon. Agnes NyaLonje, says her Ministry is giving a serious thought to re-opening of some institutions of higher learning on case by case basis.

NyaLonje says with Covid-19 cases increasing daily, the necessary skillset required to fight the pandemic may at some point fall short and not be enough if drastic positive decisions are not made by the Ministry she heads.

She gave an example of nurses, doctors, technology experts, laboratory technicians, research scientists and researchers as among other skills that are crucial if Malawi is to manage and win the fight against the pandemic.

“We must challenge ourselves to take bold decisions. All high skilled frontline labour is affected by the pandemic and we might run short of those skills soon,” said NyaLonje.

She gave an example of Daeyang Luke University which was only two weeks away from graduating a fresh cohort of nurses and other medical staff and also College of Medicine that was only eight weeks away from graduating doctors and other specialists when schools were closed in March.

Minister of Education, Hon. Agnes NyaLonje

“If such and other colleges can demonstrate that they are able to follow the minimum guidelines to protect both students and lecturers, then we will allow them to re-open and serve as well as save the nation,” said the minister adding, “We need to change our mindset of applying one solution fits all.”

NyaLonje further opined that: “in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world, Malawi inclusive, is seeking for Public Health experts, and as a sector, we must be ready to provide them.:

She emphasized that her approach is focused on systematic solution provision by Government.

NyaLonje said as the Tonse Government continues on its path to transform Malawi from the pangs of poverty and doldrums of economic stagnation, the country will need all the expertise it can get from both the public and private Universities.

She said in that regard, the case by case review will not only be limited to the health and medical fields but across the board as all skills are required bearing in mind that the world has not stopped.

The new Minister of Education said would take the issue and engage her counterparts in the Presidential Taskforce so that a quick decision can be made.

NyaLonje made the points above when she together with Deputy Minister Minister Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima met members of the Association of Private Universities of Malawi Friday in Blantyre.