NATIONAL Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) executive director Aaron Chansa says he hasn’t seen any COVID-19 preventive measures being carried out in schools.

In an interview, Chansa urged government to quicken the process of purchasing desks, so that pupils were able to physically distance during classes.

“That is very true (flu in schools). Because of the cold weather, a lot of learners have flu, including teachers and the situation with the desks still remains a crisis. Up to now, we have not seen any efforts from the government and even from the corporate world, nothing has been done so far. We still have people crowded in classes, learners sitting on the floor and it still remains a danger. And we are not even sure because there is no testing of the learners and teachers. We don’t know whether the flu which the learners have is COVID or it’s just the normal flu. The situation is just very dangerous and I think learners and teachers are just surviving by the grace of God. Because one of the health protocols which the schools were given actually was physically distancing in classes, which is not being done. Wearing of masks was also another [measure but] we have seen a lot of learners not doing that. Even the testing itself before a learner enters class, even the issue of checking temperatures,” said Chansa.

“So generally speaking, there is no preventive measure which is being done now to make sure that schools prevent the contraction or spreading of COVID-19, and we still want to call on the Minister of Education to quickly purchase desks. It’s very important that we allow our learners to keep the distance. We know that free education has brought a lot of learners into classes but the problem is that the government has been very slow in responding to this development. It’s a source of worry for us, remember the President talked about purchasing [of desks] on the Copperbelt. He said money had been released but up to now we have not seen those desks being bought. The CDF itself also is not doing what it’s supposed to do. We have not seen any constituency buying desks out of CDF, so it’s quite a very worrying situation and we would want to see change.”