‘Safety uppermost as schools reopen’

Pupils and students will be safe when schools and colleges reopen next week so long as everyone follows the requirements put in place by Government to reduce risk of Covid-19 infection, President Mnangagwa said yesterday during a virtual meeting of the Junior Cabinet.

In his remarks, the President commended pupils for their endurance and discipline during the nearly seven months when schools were closed.

“Government has put in place concrete interventions through the Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education and also of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development to ensure that learners return to safe and hygienic schools or college environments.

“I call upon all learners and teachers who are going back to schools, tertiary and university facilities to be careful and to abide by the stipulated requirements which help prevent Covid-19,” President Mnangagwa said.

Government has set aside $600 million to ensure the safe reopening of schools that begins on Monday with exam classes and the other classes returning in two more stages within the next six weeks.

The President commended young people, especially those at tertiary institutions, who have taken part in the fight against Covid-19 through production of personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Going forward, this creativity and determination to answer the problems that affect our communities and the nation through science, innovation and technology must keep on being inculcated and nurtured.

“The innovation hubs and industrial parks being established by Government are an example of the support we will render,” he said.

Economic reforms being implemented by Government were to spur economic growth and widen career opportunities for young people.

“The present investments and programmes in agriculture, mining, and visible construction of dams, roads, power and ICT infrastructure will also guarantee that our children grow up in a Zimbabwe which is food self-sufficient, modern, industrialised and accessible, a Zimbabwe which leaves no one behind.”

Government’s focus on social services development would ensure increased access to education and health facilities by young people. The devolution policy had also seen some local authorities invest more in such facilities for the benefit of young people.

“Let us, thus, prepare our young people to be active participants in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Practical and problem solving skills must be developed and enhanced by exposing them to the various sectors of the economy through purposeful educational trips. ICTs and infrastructure developments must be undertaken alive to these pressing realities,” President Mnangagwa said.

Government had set aside $1 billion in the 2020 budget for youth employment and empowerment through the recapitalisation of the Empower Bank.

It has also initiated various incentives for youth employment that include a tax initiative, establishment of the capital venture fund and the ongoing reconstitution of the Zimbabwe Youth Council.

Government was also reviewing the National Youth Policy and the President assured the Junior Cabinet that they would carry on promoting children’s interests and protecting the constitutional rights and freedoms.

President Mnangagwa challenged young people to use social media platforms positively to inculcate values of unity, love, tolerance and promote the good image of the country.

Young people should study hard and focus on their education.

“Together with all the young children you represent, you are the future and hope of our great country,” said the President.

“Shun drug and substance abuse as well as promiscuous lifestyles. Listen and adhere to the guidance of your parents, teachers and elders. Be confident that Government and your guardians will give you the maximum support to achieve your goals and aspirations.”

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