GENERAL Education Permanent Secretary Dr Jobbicks Kalumba says term three for 2020 non-examination classes will start on January 4, 2021 and close on Friday, March 19 while term one for the 2021 school calendar will begin on March 29 the same year.

And Dr Kalumba has urged all schools to ensure that teachers start teaching from where they ended at the time of the closure in March this year.

In a circular addressed to all provincial education officers, district board secretaries, and headteachers, Dr Kalumba also asked schools to encourage parents to pay school feels for their children in full in order to facilitate the provision of quality education.

“School calendar adjustments: term three of grade 7, 9, and 12 examination classes open on 14th September 2020 and closes on Friday 4th December 2020 after which respective examinations will be conducted. Term two for non-examination classes opens 21st September 2020 and closes Friday 4th December 2020. Term three for the non-examination classes opens on 4th January 2021 and closes on Friday 19th March 2021. Term one for all grades in 2021 opens on Monday 29th March 2021. Details of the revised school calendar will be availed to you in due course,” Kalumba stated.

“Ensure that teachers start teaching from where they ended at the time of the closure in March 2020 for non-examination classes. While the ministry has made an effort to cover up the lost time by reducing the school holidays in the revised school calendar, it should be noted that teaching and learning time will still be lost. Teachers are therefore requested to employ teaching strategies that will foster accelerated learning without compromising the quality of teaching and learning. This will ensure adequate syllabus coverage.”

Dr Kalumba also urged schools to adopt learning schedules which will protect the students from overcrowding and other COVID-19 related risks.

“The type of teaching and learning schedules that schools need to adopt during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, will depend largely on the learner population, availability of classrooms and the staffing situation. Schools with small class sizes, adequate classrooms and staff may require minimal or no adjustments to their timetables. Those with large leaner populations, inadequate facilities and low staffing levels will require a lot of adjustments. Schools will have the liberty to devise their own system that works well bearing in mind the requirement for social distancing in addition to the other health guidelines. Below are some suggested strategies that schools can adopt: (a) splitting of classes that have a lot of learners; (b) use of 2 to 3 sessions in a day; (c) use of alternate days for learning for a split class; (d) prioritize the learning areas and subjects that would be given more time as guided by the teaching and learning schedule attached hereto; and (e) learners should be assigned tasks to engage them constructively during the time they are not formerly engaged in class,” Dr Kalumba stated.

He further appealed to the provincial and district officers to ensure that they monitor schools as they reopen in order to ascertain effective teaching and learning.

Meanwhile, Dr Kalumba has advised teachers to avoid holding workshops and meetings that would deprive learners of their learning time.

“Workshops and meetings for teachers if not checked would deprive the learners of the much-needed learning time and as such must be avoided at all costs. Exceptions can be made for those meetings that border on examinations and those that support curriculum implementation. Kindly advise organizations that work with the ministry in your area to minimize workshops and meetings that involve teachers and learners,” stated Dr Kalumba.