Education ministry acts on Cyclone Idai

Government is conducting a rapid assessment of the extent of the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai, which left several school infrastructure destroyed, swept away learners and teachers in Chimanimani and Chipinge recently.

Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Mrs Tumisang Thabela said 51 schools were affected in Manicaland while 10 schools were destroyed in Masvingo.

She said the ministry has already dispatched a team to assess the damage and see how learning could be restored in the affected areas, which have become inaccessible.

“Our provincial structures, led by provincial education directors, are on the ground assessing the damage at the affected schools,” said Mrs Thabela in an interview with Zimpapers Television Network on Friday.

“The current figures of the schools destroyed are tentative as some of the affected areas are still inaccessible because roads and bridges were totally decimated.”

Mrs Thabela said it might take some time to come up with a true picture of the impact of the Cyclone Idai.

The ministry, she said, had no problems in restoring normal learning in areas not affected by the effects of the cyclone.

“Our challenge is how to restore normal teaching in the affected areas,” she said.

“For those that were affected like St Charles Lwanga High School, which we had to deviate its calendar, we are working on how we can quickly repair structures and teaching material that could have been lost during the cyclone disaster.

“After the rapid assessment we will be informed on how we can prioritise our responses to the carnage looking at what we can do in the short, medium and long term.”

Mrs Thabela said her ministry was also working with other Government agencies under the multi-ministerial arms led by the Ministry of Local Government in their response to the damage caused by the cyclone.

“We are trying to work on providing psycho-social support, gender and disability sensitive material for the affected. When we talk about counselling in this case it has to go beyond learners.

We have to also counsel the parents because the trauma does not just end with learners.”

Mrs Thabela said in the meantime the ministry is putting in place temporary learning space for the affected schools.