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KCPE and KCSE Candidates to Go Back To School Next Month

Kenya Certificate of Secondary School (KCSE) and Kenya Certificate of Primary School Education (KCPE) candidate students might return to class in October in the new proposals.

Going by a report by the Standard Newspaper, candidates who were to sit for KCSE and KCPE examinations this year might eventually resume learning soon and sit for the National examinations at the end of the first term next year, in April.

KCPE candidates will sit for examinations for the first days of the month of April. On the other side, their KCSE counterparts will sit for their examinations between the 6th and 30th of April.

As per the proposal, the rest of the learners will report in the first week of the first month of the New Year, January 2021. They will have to repeat their current classes.

Classes will have to be done in shifts in order to ensure that physical distancing is maintained in a bid to try to curb the COVID-19 pandemic

Preschool pupils and those in the lower grades will have two lessons in a week and these lessons will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Grades 4 to 6 will attend schools in three days of the week. These days are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. However, class seven students will attend school every day from Monday to Friday.

For Secondary schools, students will also attend schools in alternative days. For form one and form two students, they will attend lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Form three students will attend their classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Form for students sitting for KCSE in April 2021 will attend school for all the days of the week, just like their KCSE counterparts.

On Monday, the Education CS Professor George Magoha was confident that decisions concerning the reopening of all learning institutions could change depending on the reducing number of new COVID-19 cases.

“Decisions concerning the reopening of learning institutions might change depending on reports obtained from the Ministry of Health, prevailing conditions and an increase in the knowledge of COVID-19,” said the education CS.

However, CS Magoha insisted that physical distancing remains the elephant in the house once schools reopen.

Challenges Reopening Could Face

It is obvious that the reopening of schools will not be a shoo-in. Students have been stuck at home since March when schools were closed in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The following are the problems we think the education fraternity will face any time schools are allowed to reopen.

Syllabus Coverage

The idea that schools are to reopen raises the issue of how the COVID-19 measures are to be adhered to owing to the fact that implementation of these measures will not be easy especially since schools normally have many students. The teacher to student ratio is also an issue of great concern and might still be the case for a few years to come.

To solve the problem of social distancing students will have to attend classes in shifts with the exception of those students in class seven and those in candidate classes. Cutting back on the duration of time required to complete the syllabus by two days a week will hugely raise the question as the three months a term is sometimes not enough to cover the syllabus and teachers work even overtime at times to try and meet the requirements of the syllabus. It now remains to be seen how the government will cope with this issue when schools will reopen.

The future of boarding schools

Day schools will by no means worry about the issue with using shifts even if this in itself will not be easy. However, boarding schools will struggle to adhere to social distancing requirements at all times. It is possible during meals and lessons but not when they will need to sleep. In dormitories, students are likely to come into contact in many ways. Even beds in most school dormitories are so close to each other. This is an issue is a bone to chew and maybe we will know more about how schools will handle this once reopening day draws nearer.

What if there is an outbreak?

This possibility may seem a little far-fetched given how COVID-19 figures have gradually reduced but with no viable vaccine accepted by now, it is still possible for schools to be closed again. If schools become hubs where COVID-19 numbers will begin rising again, then we might reconsider this situation once more. However, we believe that most Kenyans will take the COVID-19 measures seriously and avoid this conversation altogether.

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