Teachers slam bid to feed students during shutdown

Teachers slam bid to feed students during shutdown

MASERU-THE Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) says it is opposed to the government’s plan to feed students during the shutdown that was triggered by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The LAT Secretary General, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, said the Ministry of Education should review its decision to feed students during the crisis.

He said they highly commend the government for deciding to close schools in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
“However, we strongly oppose the decision of continuing to feed learners as doing so could likely expose them not only to the fatal virus but also to other societal challenges,” Ntsibolane told thepost.

Ntsibolane said any reason advanced for the continued gathering of students at schools will be in direct contradiction to the Prime Minister’s clarion call to stop the spread of the virus.
It would also put the lives of children at risk.
“It can never be good enough to risk the lives of our pupils,” he said.
He said the ministry was still to respond to their request to review the decision and set it aside.

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane last week declared the Coronavirus pandemic a national emergency and ordered that all schools should be closed from March 17 to April 20.
Education Minister Mokoto Hloaele said the closure period would depend on the status of the pandemic.
“The extension will be informed by its status,” he said.

Hloaele said the ministry was aware that there are vulnerable children in primary schools who rely on the school feeding programme to get one decent meal a day.
“Takeaway meals will be provided to all those children inclusive of those who will want to go to eat regardless of their situation,” he said.
“We do not discriminate (against) anyone.”

He said caterers will get paid the same amount they were getting before the schools were closed.
He advised principals to draw time-tables for those children to avoid overcrowding.
Meanwhile, some schools have encountered a problem after caterers prepared meals but the students failed to turn up.

One principal said children are not going to school to get their food.
“We informed students to come before we closed but none of them pitched even though caterers had already cooked,” the principal who did not want to be named said.

He said their parents said they do not understand why their children would be expected to go for lunch when schools had been closed.
He said vulnerable children received their grants two weeks back.
The Basic Education Principal Secretary Dr Thabiso Lebese’s phone went unanswered when thepost sought his comment.

’Mapule Motsopa

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