The Zambia National Education Coalition ( ZANEC ) says the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic has threatened Sustainable development Agenda, including Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) on education which has seen the closure of schools, colleges and universities in nearly 200 countries, Zambia inclusive.
ZANEC Executive Director George Hamusunga has underscored that the closing of schools has affected over 1.5 billion learners and has deepened the patterns of inequality and exclusion.
In a statement to ZANIS marking the commemoration of g the Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) falling today, Mr Hamusunga the COVID-19 has greatly impacted the implementation of various development policies such as the 7th National Development Plan, the vision 2030 and the Education and Skills Sector Plan (ESSP), among others.
“The implementation of national plans such as the 7th National Development Plan, the vision 2030 and the Education and Skills Sector Plan (ESSP) are also greatly affected by the outbreak of COVID 19. However, we should not let COVID 19 make us lose the many gains we have made in the sector.
“ To achieve this, we need to ring-fence the resources allocated for the education sector and use them to sustain learning during the COVID 19 period. This is because education is one of the key sectors that cannot wait or put on hold,” he said.
In line with this year’s theme for GAWE which is “Accelerating a collaborative response to the COVID-19 Pandemic”, the ZANEC Executive Director urged government and donors, in collaboration with national and international partners to urgently ensure safe, inclusive, equitable and right based access for all learners to emergency distance learning and psychosocial support during and after the COVID-19 crisis .
He in the same statement reiterated that everyone should be involved in mitigating the impact of COVID 19 on the education of our learners by not only leaving the burden of providing and ensuring that learning is taking place to the government alone.
“All stakeholders should play their role in ensuring that all children are accessing learning via e-learning portal and television. Currently, our Early Childhood Education learners are not benefitting from these ongoing programmes.
“ Therefore, there is need for stakeholders to increase their support to enable the Ministry of General Education address the current learning gaps. Parents and guardians should also continue playing their role of guiding their children’s learning activities at home,” stressed Mr.Hamusunga.
He further urged all stakeholders to support the measures that the ministries of education have put in place such as the Education Contingency Plan for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
GAWE is one of the key advocacy events for the education movement. It is being commemorated at a time when the world is faced with a public health crisis of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) was established as a coalition by civil society actors who saw the need for a common platform to promote and advocate for education.
As such, it is a national coalition of civil society comprising community based Organisations, Faith based Organisations, Non-governmental organisations and teacher trade unions.
ZANEC currently has membership standing at sixty-eight (68) member organisations spread around the country.
Globally, there are still around 260 million out-of-school children and 773 million illiterate adults the trend which the United Nations is trying to reverse using the Sustainable Development Goal number 4 which advocates for quality and inclusive education system for all.