CS Magoha Confirms Reopening Of Schools Today
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof Magoha has today confirmed the reopening of schools in a press conference the CS held today.
The announcement comes despite a pending court ruling on Wednesday that directed CS Magoha to hold consultations with all stakeholders within three days regarding the progressive reopening of schools.
High Court Judge James Makau had issued a ruling after a parent had sued Professor George Magoha’s Ministry of Education for announcing the reopening of schools without laying down proper guidelines and plans on how learners will be protected against COVID-19 once schools reopen.
“The Cabinet Secretary of Education or his representatives should sit down with all parties in the Education sector and reach an agreement concerning the reopening of schools as soon as possible,” read Justice Makau’s ruling.
Justice Makau gave CS Magoha an ultimatum of three days to come up with a report by the 14th of October 2020.
Despite the ruling, CS Magoha has confirmed that schools have reopened as directed by the government. While checking on how schools have prepared to protect learners against infection with COVID-19, the CS said he was impressed by the effort schools to have made to ensure they adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
Learners in Grade 4 and Class 8 for primary schools and Form Four students in secondary schools have reported to schools in the country today both in public and private schools.
Learners will begin the second term immediately and the term will run for 11 weeks. Learners will then have a one-week break in December before the third term resumes in January 2020.
Teachers to cover Syllabus for all learners
Education CS Prof George Magoha insisted on syllabus coverage for all students regardless of whether they underwent virtual/online learning while on holiday or not. The government closed schools in March following the outbreak of COVID-19 in order to mitigate its impact.
Some students in both public and private schools underwent virtual lessons while at home as students were stuck at home, as the government flip-flopped from time to time regarding the dates for the reopening of schools.
The move did not suit all learners as some come from geographical locations that have low or no network coverage to support the virtual lessons their schools offered. While other students were able to access the network, they were not able to afford the cost of the virtual lessons, as internet bundles are expensive in Kenya. Besides, many parents struggled to put food on the table for their families, leave alone affording online learning as the economic recession that followed the closure of schools due to COVID-19 paralyzed everything.
“I want to be clear that learning will resume for all learners from the point where they left before schools were closed in March,” said CS Magoha today.
The announcement comes after some private schools informed parents who did not pay for the virtual lessons that they had forfeited their admission to the school and had to seek readmission if they did not allow their children to attend online learning during the enforced break.
KNEC to assess primary school learners
A week after the reopening of schools the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) will conduct assessments on all learners in primary schools. KNEC has informed schools that the assessment will be school-based.
For the other learners in classes 5, 6, and 7 and those in grades 1, 2, and 3, they will be assessed a week after the date of reporting to school. The Ministry of Education is yet to announce the date of reopening for the other classes.
“The objective of the assessment is to check whether there is any loss in learning during the COVID-19 pandemic period since schools were closed in March. Besides, the assessment will help in addressing any gaps that have resulted and appropriate interventions done,” said Mercy Karogo, the KNEC CEO via a circular.
Parents spotted shopping
Teacher.co.ke spotted parents over the weekend doing shopping for their children with schools reopening today. Some parents felt the government should have done more to help parents due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on parents.
“The government should have done more. They should have paid school fees in full for all learners at least for the second term as most of us lost jobs,” said one Peter Tom, a parent with a Grade Four learner in a public school in Kakamega.
Free education funds released to schools
The government released funds meant for free basic education to schools on Friday 8th October 2020. The amount released amounts to a total of Kshs. 14.5 Billion to all public schools.
Schools will need to make good use of these funds and among other things prepare for safe reopening.
“Secondary schools will receive Kshs. 13.2 Billion under the Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) while primary schools will receive Kshs. 1.2 Billion under the Free Primary Education Programs,” said Belio Kipsang.