Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
CABINET yesterday approved a three-phased reopening of schools that would see all learners including non-examination classes returning to school by November.

Schools reopened on September 14 for Cambridge sitting examination classes and no Covid-19 incident has been reported so far.

The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) sitting Grade Seven, Form Four and Form Six classes will open on Monday.

Addressing the media during a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was highly prepared for the staggered reopening of schools under the Covid-19 environment.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Government would provide personal protective equipment, disinfectants, sanitisers and will have a team to monitor a safe reopening of schools.

“In light of the high preparedness in the education sector schools will be reopened in a phased manner. Phase One for examination classes this will entail examination classes Grade Seven, Form Four and Form Six. Phase 2 will open on the 26th of October 2020 and would involve Grade Six, Form Three and Form Five. Finally Phase 3 will open on November 9 covering the rest of the learners including ECD-A, ECD-B, Grade One, Two, Three, Four, Five and then Form One and Two,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Measures have been put in place to decongest the learning institutions as schools reopen under a new normal. Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also approved the local production of number plates and development of an integrated national vehicle management that would be spearheaded by the ministries of Transport and Infrastructure and Development and Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

She said the budget has been approved to set up a US$1 million factory for the production of number plates, which upon operational will reduce the import bill by 56 percent.

Minister Mutsvangwa said at the moment the country spends €700 000 (more than US$800 000) annually importing number plates.

“Cabinet approved the budget and the intended budget of US$1 million which will result in the establishment of a local plant for the local manufacturing of number plates. The project aims to ensure industrial scale manufacturing of number plates to enable citizens to access the same at an affordable cost. Number plates will be manufactured using aluminium and acrylic materials that are locally available. The selling price of one number plate will be significantly reduced. The use of local materials will save the country foreign currency and reduce the import bill by 56 percent,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She said the locally produced number plates will meet world standards while creating employment.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also approved that church gatherings can increase from 50 to 100 the number of congregants attending services. – @nqotshili.