Education Cabinet secretary Prof. George Magoha has today received the report from the national covid-19 education response committee. The report that was presented to him at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, KICD, proposes that schools’ reopening be postponed to September. The report also proposes that KCPE and KCSE examinations to be taken in February next year.
The committee recommends that the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates be given first priority so as to report to schools in September this year with the rest learners reporting at least two weeks after learning institutions make adjustments to meet social distancing requirement and other admission logistics.
While addressing the media the CS said that every school shall remain closed, both private and public. He was quick to castigate parents in private schools who have been crying foul over high school fees demands from management of such schools.
“If private schools collapse all those children will come to public schools, therefore parents talk to the schools and work around how you will keep the schools open and supporting the economy. Those who took their children to private schools go negotiate with them on school fees. Be reasonable the schools must operate,
“To us the life of one child is very important; so other than thinking so much about exams and learning, teach the child what you know yourself… The purpose of this report was not when schools should reopen or not. It’s the safety of our children. If it means that they come back to school early next year and they start all afresh so be it…The child who is alive and well at home is better than a dead child.” said the CS.
He also expressed his unhappiness with the way the report found its way to the media before even being presented to him.
“I am aware that this report reached you irregularly before being delivered to me but that is being Kenyan, there’s nothing wrong with it,” Magoha said.
On the KCSE, KCPE examinations the CS said the safety of the learners comes first; a clear indication that this year’s examinations will indeed have to be postponed.
“We should not be thinking about examinations alone. The question is; are we comfortable for any deaths when we open schools?” he posed.
He declined to state the exact reopening dates for schools, saying an elaborate response will be given in due course.
“If you say we open schools now and disregard the health of children, that is not practical. We will advise the next steps when we can… I urge the forth estate to support us. Don’t ask me too many questions without basis. You have seen Covid-19 infections cases this week,” he observed while advising parents to stop taking children as a burden and wondered how many will want to take their children to school if the recent spike in infections is anything to go by.
At one point the tough talking CS lost his cool and lectured a journalist who had wanted to know if schools offering online lessons are already in the second term.
Magoha now says reopening of schools will be guided by the Health situation in the country and asks parents to prepare to stay with children longer.