Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) is saddened by the gassing incident that happened at a Girls’ Technical School in Mushindamo District in North-western Province on Saturday 27th February 2021. As a Coalition, we condemn this act in the strongest terms and call for the matter to be fully investigated and all measures necessary for learner protection to be put in place or reinforced.
Safety and Security of learners in schools must always be assured and should not be compromised. lt is important to note that Zambia has endorsed the Safe School Declaration which is an inter-governmental political agreement that outlines a set of commitments to strengthen the protection of education from attack and restrict use of schools and universities for military purposes. Therefore, pupils should have adequate safety and security when they are at school. It is important to ensure that the school environments are safe for the learners and teachers as well.
Furthermore, the Coalition calls for the investigative wings of government to fully investigate the matter and ensure the perpetrator/s of the reported gassing are brought to book. We call on the Teaching Council of Zambia to take interest in ensuring that the rights of the accused Teacher are protected till proven guilty. This is a timely reminder for the Commission and Ministry of General Education to ensure our schools have the necessary learner protection and safeguarding measures.
Finally, it is ZANEC’s hope that management at the school will provide counseling services to all the affected learners in order to enable them to recover from the trauma and continue with normal life and learning. We also wish the six learners who have been hospitalized a quick recovery.