Higher Education Minister, Honourable Dr. Brian Mushimba, MP., has announced a cautious approach to the reopening of all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), both private and public, from 8th June, 2020.

The Honourable Minister was speaking today when he hosted a multisectoral press briefing at the Ministry of Higher Education in Lusaka with the Ministry of Health, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), the Ministry of General Education, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

In his remarks, Dr. Mushimba stressed that the reopening was applicable to all Public and Private Universities and Colleges, and that it will be implemented with strict adherence to COVID-19 regulations on social distancing, washing of hands, masking and avoidance of unnecessary gatherings.

Mrs. Siame invites Dr. Mushimba to address the media as Mr. Malupenga looks on.

The Minister of Higher Education further stated that before any HEI could be allowed to be reopened, it would need to be inspected and certified ready by the appropriate authorities. Further, HEIs that were used as Quarantine Centres for COVID-19 would require to be adequately disinfected before they were certified ready to receive students back on their campuses.

The Minister further outlined the following key guidelines that will be required for any HEI to be certified to reopen, amongst other measures by appropriate authorities:

  1. Temperature checks at entry gates;
  2. Provision of hand washing facilities at all entrances of hostels, lecture rooms, labs, administration buildings, etc;
  3. Restriction of students two (2) students per room in Hostels and no squatting will be permitted;
  4. Restriction of visitors on campus;
  5. Social clubs and amenities will be closed;
  6. Very strong peer-to-peer monitoring;
  7. Provision of a check-in and check-out register in all Hostels;
  8. Regular inspections of hostels to ensure compliance; and,
  9. Regular cleaning, disinfection of buildings and surrounding areas.
DMMU National Coordinator, Mr. Chanda Kabwe, responds to questions from the media as Dr. Muluwanda looks on.

In order to minimise the spread of COVID-19, all HEIs in Zambia were closed on 19th March, 2020. This followed the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic by the World health Organisation (WHO).

Thus, from that period on, in order to avoid a complete shutdown of learning, MoHE ensured HEIs utilised e-learning platforms to design, package and deliver online courses using various systems and communication for online and offline learning. Dr. Mushimba reiterated that e-Learning would continue being an integral part of the learning process for both graduating students and those in other years.

However, following His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s directive that MoHE undertakes consultations on the possibility of reopening HEIs, the Ministry consulted widely in a multi sectorial approach to review and assess the reopening of HEIs.

Thus, with the reopening of HEIs from 8th June, 2020, TEVET Colleges and other colleges will reopen on 1st July, 2020, with the TVET Examination Sessional Dates being reduced to two sessions this year, namely:

  1. Exams that were scheduled for April/May will be held from 27th July – 7th August, 2020.
  2. Exams scheduled for July/August and November /December will be combined and held from 8th – 23rd December, 2020
Dr. Mushimba receives questions from members of the media.

Download the full statement here.

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