Parents will today know when their children will resume learning.
During his address to the nation yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta did not clarify whether learning will resume in all education institutions that were closed on March 16 after Kenya reported its first case of Covid-19.Instead, he left the task to Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to inform the public about the resumption of this year’s academic calendar.
“Following consultations with stakeholders in the education sector, and cognisant of the surge in the rate of infections, the Ministry of Education shall jointly, with all the stakeholders in the sector, notify the public on the resumption of the 2020 academic calendar for basic education and tertiary institutions,” Kenyatta said yesterday at Harambee House in Nairobi.
Kenyans expect to know the contents of the Dr Sarah Ruto-led task force that Prof Magoha formed in May to advise him on the measures to be taken to ensure a return to normalcy in the basic education sector.
The Covid-19 National Education Response Committee on Friday handed its final report to Magoha who handed it to the president the same day.
Magoha has been holding stakeholders’ consultations in the education sector and has promised that both the Education and Health ministries will issue and publicise guidelines on a gradual and progressive return to normalcy in the education sector by the Third Term beginning September 1.
Last week, stakeholders in the education sector met at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development and agreed to re-open primary and secondary schools in January, fearing the surging numbers of the virus in the country.
There is concern over World Health Organisation and Unicef recommendations that before re-opening, schools should put in place infrastructure that will allow only 15 learners in class to allow for social distancing.
Parents, Universities Academic Staff Union, Kenya National Union of Teachers and Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union have all supported the suspension of learning until January, next year.
Yesterday, Kenyatta further sought to be protect children, especially those in primary schools. He directed that even though religious groups can resume services with a maximum of 100 people per session while observing social distancing, children under 13 years should stay at home because they are a risk group.
He also banned special programmes like Sunday School and Madrassa for 30 days.Kenyatta said he was also concerned with increasing tensions within homes and the violation of children’s rights.
“Cases of gender-based violence have increased, mental health issues have worsened, and instances of teenage pregnancy have escalated. I appeal to social institutions, including the religious institutions, to exercise civic responsibility to bring these unfortunate trends to an end,” Kenyatta said.Speaking in Meru on Sunday, Magoha hinted that Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) might reopen in September, while Technical and Vocational Education Training institutions resume in October.
“Following the president’s order to the Ministries of Education and Health to prepare for gradual re-opening of schools in September, the Ministry of Education has held extensive consultations with all stakeholders to reach consensus on a way forward,” said Magoha when he met with principals of TTCs at Meru Government Training Institute.