Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha says Universities and colleges that are not COVID-19 compliant will remain closed until 2021.
CS Magoha and principal secretaries Simon Nabukwesi (University Education), and Dr Julius Jwan (Technical and Vocational Training) have been touring universities and technical institutions to assess their preparedness.
In statement on Thursday, CS Magoha said a survey of most institutions shows only few of them have put COVID-19 mitigation measures in place.
“A survey of all Teacher Training Colleges, Universities and TVET institutions has shown that few of them have put in place necessary measures to comply with the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 protocols that can guarantee safety of staff and learners once they reopen,” the statement noted.
“The final decision on the reopening of the TTC’s, TVETs and universities will be dependent on the guidance from the Ministry of Health,”
Education stakeholders have now resolved as follows:
1. All TTCs, TVETs and Universities will reopen for face-to-face sessions in January 2021.
2. Universities should continue offering virtual learning, examinations and virtual graduations but in strict adherence observance to quality measures set by the Commission for University Education’s the University Standards and Guidelines. Priority should be given to final year students to ensure they can graduate. So far, Dedan Kimathi University and Riara University have held virtual graduations. Egerton University is also set to hold a virtual graduation on July,31, 2020 while the University of Nairobi is set to hold a virtual graduation on September 25, 2020.
4. Virtual orientation to be implemented to other universities after successful trial at Dedan Kimathi University.
5. All institutions will continue making arrangements for re-opening based on the provided guidelines and checklists. However, authorization to re-open for face to face teaching, learning and research, will be based on further guidance from Ministry of Health based on the dynamics of preparedness.
6. The Ministry is looking into ways of supporting continued on-line learning for University students by supporting HELB to facilitate them for the acquisition of on-line learning facilities and resources.
This comes just days after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Education Ministry to hold talks with stakeholders in discussing how schools will be re-opened.
President Kenyatta was speaking from the State House during an address to the nation on matters related to the novel coronavirus.
The meeting will be expected to arrive at the official re-opening dates for schools, universities and colleges.
Primary schools and Secondary schools are also expected to re-open in January with the national examinations scheduled for late 2020 being moved to November 2021.
In a raft of new requirements by the Ministry of Health, schools are required to have: adequate hand-washing points, automatic sanitiser dispensers, hand-held thermometers, isolation facilities , and facemasks.
Additionally, the institutions will be required to frequently disinfect places of contact such as door-knobs, light switches and rails.
Schools will also be required to implement the requisite social distancing among students, members of the staff and visitors.