Contact: UPND Media Director, Ruth Dante
THE United Party for National development finds media reports of schools chasing away unmasked pupils despite government assuring the nation of adequate preparations sad and unfortunate.
We are aware of the fact that government through the Republican Vice President Inonge Mutukwa Wina recently claimed to have flagged off the making of a million reusable masks for use mainly by returning pupils.
We are also aware that government claims to have engaged Mulungushi textiles in Kabwe to manufacture reusable masks at a very high cost.
It now comes as a surprise to note that pupils were being chased from schools despite the hype that surrounded the reported government program of mask making in readiness for the reopening of examination classes across the country.
We wonder whether government was really ready to open the schools with adequate preparations or it was merely playing to the gallery as per it’s usual practice. A check by our members of parliament at various schools have revealed the lack of preparedness by government as no school has received any personal protective equipment for both the pupils, teachers and support staff.
How did the government think these pupils most of them coming from needy families would manage to secure masks without it’s help when their families were struggling to make ends meet.
With the foregoing, UPND can safely say the PF has failed to properly manage this COVID 19 pandemic as evidenced by its haphazard manner it is handling it’s preventive measures and guidelines.
We therefore wish to demand that the government forthwith puts in place preventive measures which shall include but not limited to adequate face masks, hand washing points and sanitizers in order to protect the returning pupils.
Chasing them is not a solution as the pandemic is a national public health problem which currently needs government intervention. We urge parents that can manage to get face masks for their children to continue supplementing government efforts. The back however stops on the government to provide those services at no extra costs to the pupil whose school calendar has been adversely affected by the pandemic.
Pupils are already stressed by the disease and discriminating them further on account of not having face masks amounts to the abuse of their Human Rights to education.
UPND MEDIA TEAM