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Teachers’ Proposals on a COVID-19 vaccination plan

When their turn comes for vaccination, teachers across the country have come up with proposals the government shall use.

This follows the Ministry of Health’s listing of teachers among the frontline workers lined up for vaccination against COVID-19.

Kenya Primary School Heads Association (KEPSHA) chairperson Johnson Nzioka proposed old teachers and those with underlying conditions be given first priority.

“KEPSHA has lost members to the coronavirus that has continued to ravage the education sector and the country at large with a massive and unprecedented impact on families,” said the KEPSHA chair.

Nzioka said that the 30,000 managers should be the next ones in line. In his opinion, the heads interact with teachers and outside stakeholders like parents, suppliers, and other visitors to the school from the community.

“But this should only be adopted if they may not have enough vaccines for the 350,000 teachers. A phased approach would be effective with proper mapping out of high-risk staff,” said Nzioka.

He said that teachers who will manage centers during the administration of the KCPE and KCSE examinations should be vaccinated before the examinations start.

“The congestion that happens at the containers during collection and drop-of examination materials poses a high infection risk for teachers and the vaccine will help build teachers’ confidence,” said Nzioka.

Nzioka said that during the administration of KCPE and KCSE, headteachers will also interact with drivers, security officers, and colleagues from various schools.

“This alone puts us in the frontline and we appeal that the vaccination is taken seriously before the national examinations begin,” said Nzioka.

1,088,986 candidates are set to sit for the KCPE, while 699,745 candidates shall sit for their KCSE examinations.

The novel coronavirus caused schools to be closed in March 2020 and this forced the national examinations to be rescheduled from October/November and shall now be done in March/April.

The revised timetables indicate that the KCPE will begin on March 22, two days after the third term ends. The three-day KCPE examination will be completed on March 24, a day after the KCSE examination begins.

The Form Four national examination will be done in three weeks and three days.

Nzioka pleaded with Primary school heads to take the administration of the school-based Grade 4 formative assessment for this week. The Grade Four assessment will be done from March 8th to 18th.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha advised teachers not to put unnecessary pressure on learners as they administer the tests.

According to Magoha, the tests are not examinations and advised parents against panicking.

“No one should be putting pressure on children about the assessments because they are not examinations. Even parents must stop putting pressure on the learners,” said Prof George Magoha.

Nzioka said that teachers will utilize available materials to administer the assessments and advised school admins against disrupting other school programs just because of the Grade 4 formative assessment.

This follows TSC’s Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia’s advice.

“I urge all field officers to support schools to ensure that class teachers access the KNEC assessment tools and administer them to their learners as seamlessly as they can,” said Dr. Nancy Macharia.

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