By ALICE NACHILEMBE
The Zambia Tax Platform says that Government needs to develop a school reopening and recovery plan to mitigate further economic and social costs.
Social and Economic Investment Monitoring Analyst Theresa Mutale said these school closures come at a high social and economic cost and are likely to have profound consequences extending beyond education.
She said that as schools across the country prepare to reopen on 16th of August 2021, it is not enough to just let the children get back to school.
Ms Mutale said the government of the day will have a crucial role to play in responding to various impacts of the pandemic.
She said loss of learning accumulated over the multiple school closures as well as economic losses.
“The Government, through the Ministry of Education will need to take actions to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on education and develop strong systems to meet the immense challenges that lie ahead while protecting the health and well-being of pupils, students and teachers,” she said.
Ms Mutale said that the impact is particularly severe for girls and children from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds as some may never return to school even after schools reopen fully.
She said the continued stay away from school may also increase the risk of early marriages as well as that of violence against women and girls.
Ms Mutale says that communities should not lose focus on the aggregate role education plays in our societies.
She said the current economic environment with its rising inflation is likely to increase poverty levels in the country as the cost of living rises.
Ms Mutale said the situation may call for more resources to be directed towards poverty mitigating measures and thereby posing a risk for reduced funding to other social services including education.