The report on how to manage the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya’s education sector will be handed over to Cs for Education Prof. George Magoha on Monday 21st, September 2020. The Education Cs who has been consistently confusing Kenyans on the issue of schools reopening, will then present to Cabinet subcommittee chaired by Cs for interior Dr. Fred Matiangi in the course of the week. Then a major announcement on the way forward is expected in the coming days after the cabinet subcommittee meeting.
The committee that’s chaired by Dr. Sarah Ruto has come up with proposals and recommendations to be followed before the schools reopen. The committee recommends that the school calendar be revised to allow the year to begin in June instead of the usual January-to-November cycle. Standard Eight and Form Four learners will sit their national exams in April 2021 if the government adopts proposals. The school’s reopening date is proposed to be on October 19th 2020.
The stakeholders suggest to have a phased reopening of schools that will see Standard Seven, Standard Eight, Form Three and Form Four students back in class on Monday, October 19. Grade Four pupils, who are the first cohort of the Competency Based Curriculum, are also to report back to school in the first phase. For primary schools, learners in Pre-Primary One and Two and Grades One to Three, and those in Standard Five and Six will be expected to start reporting to schools on November 2. Secondary school students in Form One and Two will also be expected to report back to school on the same date.
Should the government settle on the October date for primary and secondary schools, universities will also be expected to recall their students for face-to-face learning. Prof Magoha has been assessing the preparedness of these institutions in several forays across the country in recent days, while the Teachers Service Commission has been training heads of schools and tertiary institutions on health protocols for safe reopening.
Those protocols include safe-distancing in class and, while touring a furniture workshop in Umoja, Nairobi this week, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Government will deliver desks worth Sh1.9 billion to schools before they reopen. The desks will be supplied under the Economic Stimulus Programme that will benefit 5,254 secondary and 5,136 primary schools.
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Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli said schools are ready for reopening and asked other stakeholders to come on board and help in the preparations. “We are currently engaging various stakeholders who have agreed to supply free thermo guns to secondary schools, and we request others to also come on board and help supply water tanks, soaps and masks to students,” said Mr Indimuli.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers chairman Akelo Misori said schools should prepare to observe health guidelines when they reopen, and that “social distancing remains the greatest challenge” yet.
SOURCE: SUNDAY DAILY NATION 20TH OCTOBER 2020 Schools opening debate