Senators now want Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha to rescind on his earlier plans of pushing reopening of schools to next year, 2021. According to recommendations from the Senate Education Committee, the CS should start a phased reopening of all primary and secondary schools in this year.
Chairperson of Committee on Education in the Senate, Dr. Milgo Alice Chepkorir on Tuesday, July 21, presented recommendations from the Committee in the floor of the house.
“The Education Committee recommends a phased reopening of basic education learning institutions, beginning from September, 2020. (This is) to allow a division of the classes into smaller groups,” said Senator Chepkorir.
The Committee further asks the Ministry to give priority to candidate classes (class 8 and form 4).
“Priority should be given to the national examinations classes, KCPE and KCSE, so that they can continue with syllabus coverage and prepare for examinations,” she said.
These latest recommendations come in the backdrop of increased cases of covid-19 infections in the country. The country is experiencing an unprecedented surge in daily infections.
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In pushing reopening to January, 2021, CS Magoha attributed the move to the poor state of infrastructure in schools that can not guarantee social distancing among learners.
The Senators, in their renewed push, also want first lessons for students following reopening to cover similar topics including; epidemic prevention, health care maintenance and how to respond to emergency drills.
Frequent cleaning and hand-washing (done twice in a day), Prohibition of usual morning meetings and parades, cancellation of all sporting activities and field trips are other measures proposed by the Committee.
Additionally, all members of staff (teachers and support staffs) and learners should always wear face masks while, desks and other work stations should be spaced six feet apart.
The spiraling nature of infections paints a grim picture in the proposal to have the schools reopened; considering the sorry state of facilities in most public schools that are otherwise congested.
Plans to have higher institutions of learning open their doors to students in September may be slightly hampered (at-least for now). This is after President Uhuru Kenyatta barred Cabinet secretaries from touring the country as part of efforts to curb spread of the coronavirus disease.
Uhuru’s directive comes in the light of reports that at least three Cabinet Secretaries have contracted Covid-19 and are in self-isolation. The travel ban that is set to last for two weeks will slow down activity at the Education Ministry.
CS Magoha, the Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of Education Ms Mumina Bonaya and the Principal Secretary for university education and research Amb. Simon Nabukwesi have been making visits to universities and colleges. The visits are meant to asses the institutions’ levels of preparedness; ahead of the September reopening dates.
The restrictions have affected other CSs like Peter Munya (Agriculture), John Munyes (Mining), James Macharia (Transport) and Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution). Upcountry trips by CSs Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Mutahi Kagwe (Health), Ukur Yatani (National Treasury) and Adan Mohamed (Regional Integration) have also been disrupted.