By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
Bondolfi Teachers’ College has closed its doors again one day after it opened on Monday following a directive from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education ordering “suspension of face-to-face lectures on Campus in all tertiary education institutions” due to sky rocketing numbers of COVID-19 infections in the country.
Students were ordered to pack their bags and leave for home further shuttering their hopes of completing their course according to the normal schedule.
In a letter to all colleges and universities, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Prof Fanuel Tagwira stated that; “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.”
“In view of the foregoing, the ministry is hereby directing that all tertiary institutions, with immediate effect, suspend face-to-face lectures on campus and continue with e-learning,” he said.
Tagwira said his ministry was “working flat out to ensure all institutions are adequately resourced with the necessary infrastructure to facilitate access to quality e-learning”.
The Principal of Bondolfi Teachers’ College, Mr. Kizito Chitsama said the college took the necessary steps that protect students from contracting COVID-19 by ferrying students from Harare in the college bus to prevent them from mixing with strangers while private transport was also arranged for those from Masvingo and other areas. Mr. Chitsama said in order to continue with their education, students were divided into manageable WhatsApp groups of forty so that they continue to interact with their lecturers and receive the necessary education.
“We carried out an induction workshop for utilising online learning before students left so that no one will miss out on their studies. We will make follow ups and continue to liaise with students facing challenges and offer our assistance so that all students benefit from the system,” stated Mr. Chitsama.
He said the college has to abide with the ministry’s directive as it seeks to protect students and staff from the pandemic.
Masvingo Diocese Education Secretary, Fr. Walter Nyatsanza said the Diocese continues to give support to all its institutions of education but cited challenges of maintaining employees as there will be no income as a result of the continued lock down.
“We have to think outside the box in order to sustain the non-teaching staff,” Fr. Nyatsanza said.
The country recorded its 26th death from COVID-19 on Monday as cases rose to 1,713 since the first case on March 20.
Yesterday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promulgated stiffer measures to enforce the lock down regulations as a way of curtailing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.