THE Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) has called for innovation in the education sector by way of revising the curriculum in order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

In an interview, ZANEC executive director George Hamusunga expressed concern that learners might not catch up if the sector did not innovate.

“We have lost a lot of time due to the closure of schools as a result of COVID-19 and we may not catch up if we do not innovate by especially, revising our curriculum. We need to revise our curriculum by focusing on core competencies and leverage on additional time when possible to be able to remediate on the lost time. And as a country, we have not performed so well in providing continuity of learning in homes and this is why there is a lot of discourse around the postponement of reopening of schools,” Hamusunga said.

“What we have seen is that as a country we are very strong at investing in making our learning environment safe and healthy for our children and we are better at ensuring that the schools are able to follow the public health regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But as ZANEC, we believe in continuity of learning whether at home or in schools. And between now and the time that schools will reopen, based on the current situation and prediction, we need to plan accordingly to ensure that we are able to have our children back in school. We need to ensure that schools are funded to have adequate measures to ensure health of our children. We do not want to reach the 24th of January 2022 and say that now the cases are higher we are not reopening.”

Hamusunga said keeping children in homes was devastating to the education system.

“If we are just keeping quiet waiting that the COVID-19 cases will start going down in the two week extension, that might not happen. And so what we need to do is to prepare in the best way that we can and ensure that schools reopen in two weeks regardless of how the Covid situation will be because keeping our children in homes is very devastating to our education system. In some cases, the school environment is safer than being at home especially for some children living in the compounds,” said Hamusunga.

“What we thought was that we are going to ensure that we run a blended education system where those in high risk areas where cases are spiking, which are mostly urban, and have access to ICT learning platforms go into remote learning while those in rural areas where apparently cases can be very low or no cases at all can open schools. Those are the things that we should be looking at and supporting within these two weeks and not necessarily waiting for nature to lower down the cases.’