Teachers, parents and guardians in Cape Verde are in favor of restarting face-to-face classes, scheduled for October 1, but as long as the “minimum conditions” are created to prevent the spread of covid-19.
The Ministry of Education marked the beginning of the school year in Cape Verde for October 1, but announced on Saturday the exception for the capital, Praia, where face-to-face classes were postponed to “after October 31” due to the evolution of the pandemic of Covid-19.
Face-to-face classes are dividing opinions in Cape Verde, taking into account that the country registers dozens of daily cases, with greater concern in the city of Praia, the main focus of the disease.
Speaking to Lusa, the president of the Cape Verdean National Teachers Union (SINDEP), Nicolau Furtado, recalled that the unions had a meeting at the end of last month with the national director of Education, Eleonora Sousa, to address various aspects of health security in schools.
Social distance, number of students in each classroom, depending on their size and hygienic conditions, were the subjects addressed, but all with a view to reducing cases of covid-19, according to Nicolau Furtado.
For the president of the most representative union of the teaching class in Cape Verde, there is an exponential increase in cases of covid-19 in the country, which is why it is essential to “rethink” the face-to-face opening of classes.
"In this order of ideas, SINDEP advises the Ministry of Education to consider reopening the classes scheduled for October 1, taking into account the evolution of this pandemic, which makes it a big risk for the educational community," he said.
The union leader proposes an opening when the situation is “more acceptable”, stressing that in Cape Verde there is insufficient school infrastructure, which limits the possibility of on-site teaching with the social distance recommended by the health authorities.
"While the pandemic in Cape Verde lasts, it is our understanding that the Ministry should choose online or distance learning, because not all teachers, students, or families are properly prepared," he warned.
In addition to the risks of contagion arising from the daily two-way commuting of thousands of students, “in scarce means of collective passenger transport”, the union leader pointed out difficulties of distance, which result from the very psychological characteristics of children and adolescents, when they live together. same and small school space.
“They run, jump, play, play, hug, share objects and food with each other. And it has been proven by the World Health Organization (WHO) that young people can be the main transmitters of covid-19 for the elderly, that is, for their own families and for teachers, ”said Nicolau Furtado.
The president of the Association of Parents and Guardians of Education of Primary School 13 de Janeiro, in the city of Praia, Albertino Delgado, told Lusa that he is “a bit apprehensive”, but that he is in favor of restarting classes, as long as they are created the “minimum conditions” of hygiene.
“Especially in places where the outbreak is bigger, such as Praia, it is necessary to take good care so that a disaster does not happen in schools”, warned that person, for whom many schools are not prepared, being still under construction, the support staff will not they are sufficient and there are not enough bathrooms.
For the president, not having these conditions, the solution is to continue with distance learning, to allow time to recruit more people, prepare teachers, test teachers and employees.
According to the Ministry of Education, the preparatory period for the academic year 2020/2021 is currently taking place, where planning activities and preparation of teaching activities and continuous training of teachers will be carried out.
He adds that the “principle adopted is flexibility and adaptation to circumstances”.
Education Minister Maritza Rosaball said in early August that the Ministry was working on a design, in which distance education is complementary to face-to-face education.
The Ministry of Education reported that, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and in accordance with the guidelines of the World Health Organization, it is creating all the conditions for students to return to classes with “maximum security and tranquility” and asked the collaboration of parents and guardians.
Cape Verde has a total of 5,771 cases of covid-19 and 57 dead.
Praia, 28 Sep 2020 (Lusa) - RIPE // VM