NATIONAL Action for Quality Education NAQEZ has welcomed the extension date for the reopening of schools from 4th January to 18th January 2021.

In a statement, NAQEZ executive director Aaron Chansa said the extension would help teachers prepare adequately for the 2021 school calendar.

“On behalf of teachers in Zambia, National Action for Quality Education in Zambia( NAQEZ) wishes to commend the Ministry of General Education for extending the date of reopening schools from 4th January to 18th January, 2021. We feel excited that the ministry has finally heard our consistent plea and the overwhelming cries from thousands of teachers in Zambia for an extension of reopening date. If the ministry had insisted on 4th January, 2021, many teachers would have held the ministry in very bad light. It would have meant that the ministry did not care about the welfare of its teachers. But with this development, all teachers in Zambia will happily get geared for 2021,” Chansa said.

“Opening schools on 18th will now allow teachers to finish invigilating national examinations, attend residential schools, attend to festivities and take part in marking various national exams. It will also enable our teachers to have some rest and prepare well for the first term of 2021.”

Chansa called on the government to give special attention to teachers in 2021 in terms of salary upgrades among others.

“Teachers are human beings who deserve rest after working so hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. We therefore commend the Ministry for accommodating our position on this score. We hope that government will seriously and realistically consider giving the teaching profession special attention next year in terms of salary upgrades, confirmations and accommodation. Teachers are the engine that drive the education sector, and as far as we are concerned, no other profession is more important than teaching. Teachers produce every other profession,” said Chansa.