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Early development centres to issue indemnity forms

Some Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD) will be requiring parents to sign indemnity forms as many are said to be ready to open midst a rise in Covif-19 cases in the country.

ECDs are set to open on the 22nd of June.

This is despite a backlash from some parents and the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) when some private primary and secondary schools issued the forms in the eve of the opening of schools for Grades 11 and 12.

“What we are asking the parents to sign is an agreement that they will give us their cooperation that they will align and adhere to the rules that we have put in place as we have discussed in our briefing.

“So all these social distancing measures, reporting to us when you have travelled, keeping sick children, these will be information contained in the form of a Covid-19 protocol and asked parents to sign this as an agreement to say we will cooperate and if my child is sick I will keep it home,” she said Bernadine Maynhardt from Grow a Child Daycare.

Rosina Museke from the ministry said the indemnity forms is all about the commitment of parents.
“If the ECD says you don’t enter or sanitise at the entrance, you need to do so, so it’s a commitment that you don’t come in when you are not allowed. And to take these rules back at home also. It’s a continuum of responsibility,” she said.

The education ministry has also not stood in the way of the forms which it says are for the good of both parents and centres so that both may know what is expected from each other when children begin attending classes.

But there has been a rising concern that in this pandemic climate, some schools have taken advantage of the form in order to escape any possible blame in the case of an infection.

ECD centres have expressed readiness to open despite Namibia recording more than 30 cases of the virus and a lockdown of the entire region of Erongo.

Another concern is whether parents would be required to pay full fees for their children given the economic slump which has wiped away many jobs.

Others are concerned about whether there are proper modalities to handle scores of children at centres and how effective these would be.

“Our guidelines and our decisions to open are not cast in stone. We are watching the situation as it unfolds and things can change and guidelines can be adjusted accordingly as the situation changes. What is important is the situation of safety around the child. If the government changes and say there is now a lockdown, then it’s a different situation.”

Julia Heita

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