As further testimony of the ministry’s commitment to curbing the spread of Covid-19 in schools and the community, the Hon. Minister N. C. G. Mathema officially launched the Covid-19 information, education and communication (IEC) materials at Rusununguko High School.
The IEC materials which were developed by the ministry in conjunction with education cluster partners carry messages ranging from how the disease is spread, how to protect oneself and others and how to know if one is infected. The Minister stressed that protecting learners meant protecting citizens.
“Once you protect every learner you are protecting every citizen of the country,” noted Hon. Mathema.
He said the IEC materials were meant to promote safer school environments in view of the return to physical school adding that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), developed to guide the operations of schools under the Covid-19 environment, mandated schools to have IEC materials before they could be allowed to re-open.
He applauded the collaboration between the ministry and development partners under the education cluster in the production of the IEC materials.
“Today, we have gathered to officially launch the Information Education and Communication materials that have been developed through such partnership, with technical support from experts in the Ministry of Health and Child Care,” said Hon. Mathema.
To ensure the IEC materials catered for every child without discrimination, the Hon. Minister assured those present that the messages were being translated into all languages recognised by the constitution of the country with a braille version also being developed to accommodate the visually impaired learners.
“These messages are mostly in picture form, and currently being translated into all the languages recognised under the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in order to communicate clearly for the benefit of broad age-range in our schools, from ECD A to Upper 6th Form.
“Using pictures, the message is easy to understand, even for one who cannot read fluently as well as for the hearing impaired among us.
“Arrangements have already been finalised for the delivery of Braille versions of the same in order to accommodate the needs of visually impaired learners and staff,” said Hon. Mathema.
The development of the IEC materials was spearheaded by the Education in Emergencies Cluster with World Vision and Plan International co-leading the working group in IEC materials.
Maria Tokwani, an Education Specialst from World Vision noted that her organisation was honoured to have been given the mandate, together with Plan International, to develop IEC materials for the return to school amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said the working group had produced seven posters on Covid-19 which have already been printed and distributed to all the provinces of the country.
The official launch of the Covid-19 IEC materials ran under the theme “Quality Inclusive 21st century education under the new SOPS normal.”