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Government to buy facemasks for needy students, disburse funds for free education on Thursday

The Government will provide free facemasks to needy students only, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Education CS Magoha has said.

parents and teachers will work on a plan to ensure the other students are bought facemasks with schools resuming next week.

Following the announcement about the reopening of schools, the government directed parents with school-going children to pay for additional costs to facilitate learning. This started a lot of discussions among parents with many surprised that the government did not really help to ease the strain on parents following financial constraints as a result of COVID-19.

The government has now ‘clarified’ or rather chosen to only support needy students who may not be able to afford protective gear to help protect themselves against COVID-19. This clarification comes after Cabinet Secretary for Education Prof Goerge Magoha had directed parents to be ready to pay the additional costs to ensure schools reopen.

Stakeholders of schools were also told to outsource any resourceful donors who can help schools with expenses as schools prepare to reopen after the closure of schools in March. Schools have been closed since March after the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

As per the announcement made by CS Magoha on Tuesday, the phased reopening of schools will start with students in Grade Four, Class Eight, and Form Four who are expected to report to schools on Monday 12, October 2020.

The exam calendar released by the Ministry of Education has the KCPE exam being done for three days starting from March 22 to March 24, 2021. The form four candidates on the other hand will sit for their KCSE test from March 25 to April 16, 2021.

Students reporting to schools will keep learning until December 23, 2020, when the second term will end as a Christmas break will be allowed for one week.

Term three will commence on January 4, 2021 to March 19, 2021.

Wearing of facemasks will be mandatory in schools once they reopen and every student will have to put on a facemasks to protect themselves at all times. Body temperature will be monitored on a regular basis for all learners, staff and all other people accessing the schools. Besides, handwashing and observing of high hygiene levels will also be required.

In case there is no running water in schools, they have been advised to to make sanitizers available.

Disbursement of funds

CS Magoha also said the government will disburse funds to all public schools on Thursday, October 8 to ensure free learning is provided in schools.

The CS also said that the government will use the reopening of grade four, class eight, and form four in all private and public schools as a guide to see how full reopening of schools will pan out.

According to Prof George Magoha, extensive consultation will be done to provide directions on the resumption of learning for the rest of the students in other classes that are yet to know when or whether they will be allowed back in schools soon.

CS Magoha added that there was a pending court matter regarding the reopening of schools. He also said that anyone is allowed to file a petition on the same if one feels like of chooses to.

The manufacture of desks is also likely to be complete by the end of the month of October as capable and experienced artisans are being identified to make the project a success.

The government had issued a prototype to sub-counties, as 15 public schools in each sub-county will be given desks to help with achieving the social distancing measure as directed by the Ministry of Health.

Concerning the desks project, the CS had earlier said that there is no room for dirty tricks or graft as the project was initiated to help alleviate the financial stress of buying desks in schools countrywide.

“Do not think of ‘what is in it for me?’ as this is not the time for that. It is for our children. There is nothing we cannot address, as far as we are concerned. If there is a problem, talk to us directly and not the usual bureaucratic practices,” Magoha said earlier in September.

The provision of the desks prototype was an intentional move to try and curb graft in the Kshs. 1.9 Billion desks project.

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