Magoha orders schools to build bigger labs to accommodate all subjects

All schools will be required to have laboratories that can accommodate all subjects and not just Physics, Biology and Chemistry.

The Ministry of Education in new guidelines said the new curriculum and the increased intake of learners will require bigger laboratories.

The regulations were signed by Education CS George Magoha, Early Learning, and Basic Education PS Julius Jwan, and Director of Quality Assurance Mary Gaturu.

“Currently, existing laboratories were designed for use by 40 students. However, class sizes are currently well above this as a result of FPE and FDSE,” the report reads.

The standards are meant to be adopted by all basic education institutions, teacher training colleges and special needs centres.

The ministry has directed lab services to be expanded to accommodate changing learning patterns and methods.

“To include additional overarching learning areas beginning from the local environment as well as enhancing investigative pedagogy,” the report reads.

Schools are also required to have one laboratory sufficient to serve single to double streamed learning institution.

However, a school will be required to increase additional labs if streams are added to match the ratio of one laboratory (45 students) to two streams.

When building the labs, each single lab should be built with two main entrance steel doors where one room should have a steel exit door.

“Windows to have cross ventilation on both the longer, opposite walls, be large enough to permit good natural light, ventilation and have appropriate burglarproofing and lock systems,” the report reads.

For practicals surfaces, the platforms should be constructed using concrete, terrazzo or ceramic tiles.

This includes areas which may come in contact with water, floor, benches, finishes which should be immune to impacts of falling objects & chemical corrosion.

Further, the labs are supposed to be ICT compliant and the design customised to convert into a twin lab.

“One laboratory can accommodate 10 practical lessons per week allowing for cleaning and change over time,” the report reads.

This means the lab will serve a single and double streamed institution offering five subjects that require practicals.

“2.4 square metres per student plus additional 1.0sqm (emergency corner shower point) plus 32 sqm (Store, Preparation Areas, &Teachers Office),” the report reads.

Permanent objects in the labs will include wall mounted side-benches with lab sinks, gas points, shelves and lockable cabinets.

Others are fixed worktops along walls, permanent wall mounted shelves and lockable cabinets with see-through glazed shutters to all rooms.

Movable objects will include tables, demonstration bench placed at the teacher’s side when in use, gas point and lockable cabinets.

For the safety of students and teachers using the labs, all windows and doors should be opened outwards.

“There shall be one main door and at least one more fire escape door, both as far apart as possible, a third door to exit from stores or preparation room areas,” the report reads.

The ministry further advocates for laboratories to be built on ground level, storey buildings should have safety ramps or mechanical lifts.

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