Back to classes

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By SAMUEL BARIASI
PRIME Minister James Marape has confirmed that higher education institutions will resume classes on Monday, April 27, and schools the following Monday, May 4.
The decision was welcomed yesterday by universities which were becoming concerned by the prolonged suspension of classes due to the state of emergency declared on March 22.
Marape said there were protocols and guidelines to be observed by students, teachers and others engaged in the learning institutions as safety precautions against the spread of the Covid-19.
“They (universities, colleges etc) will use the month of May to try out the new protocols after which they will decide if they are working or not,” he said.
State of Emergency Controller David Manning in a statement on Sunday said only schools would be opened next Monday.
Fr Jan Czuba, the secretary to the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST), told The National yesterday that higher education institutions must follow safety procedures provided to them.
He said students and staff who had left campus and now returning would be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.
“Each institution must ensure that students are adequately assessed before entering campus,” he said.
University of PNG Chancellor Robert Igara said the University Council would be meeting today to discuss the resumption of classes.
“We expect to receive formal advice later today (yesterday) of the Government’s decision which the UPNG Council must also consider,” Igara told The National.
University of Goroka (UOG) Chancellor Joseph Sukwianomb welcomed the decision by the Government and said the university was ready to resume classes on Monday.
“A further delay would harm the integrity of our academic programmes,” he told The National.
He said UOG would continue to follow guidelines to maintain good hygiene and social distancing.
“The majority of our students live on campus but we have a facility in school for students living off campus to be in quarantine for 14 days,” he said.
Sukwianomb said higher education institutions would need funding to ensure that control measures were maintained.
Divine Word University vice-president Fr Phillip Gibbs said they were ready to resume lectures but some programmes would have to continue through Christmas and into New Year to complete all the learning activities.
“The state of emergency has certainly boosted our technological readiness,” Gibbs said.
Attempts to get comments from other universities and colleges yesterday were unsuccessful.

14 comments

  • Since the classes are commencing ,the government must also make prior arrangements of the necessary medical equipment like face masks etc..for students and teachers to use when the situation of COVID-19 is worse in the schools all throughout the country.Boarder provinces can be considered first with the equipment. Thank you.

  • It will cause alot of fear among teachers and students for those who have gone out during this long shut down and are returning. Let’s hope no is going to be a suspect or it will be chaos in schools.

  • All in all I’m happy to resume my class next week Monday.
    But there must be health equipments available for students to use to prevent themselves for getting COVID-19. And the other thing is, the Government must take into consideration, the overcrowding in classrooms.

  • The overcrowded classes will be a problem to the institution. As for bigger tertiary institutions, most young people do not much worrying about the virus knowing that they are young and healthy,their immune system will help them to minimize the effect of virus. They are forgetting their tutors, lecturers and teachers that are elderly and may be vulnerable to easily get infected and die or severely affected.

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