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Machogu warns on safety as schools re-open

Monday, May 8th, 2023 04:00 | By
Ezekiel Machogu

Primary and secondary schools resume classes today for Second Term, with a call for strict implementation of new measures on safety of  learners.

Second Term will run for 14 weeks to August 11, although there will be a mid-term break next month.

The Ministry of Education has urged schools to be cautious with the food and water that students consume and ensure they are well inspected.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said the Ministry had issued a circular directing schools to be extra vigilant on what learners consume.

“We have issued a circular asking everyone to be cautious with water and food that our students take, taking into consideration the schools that have had cases because of contaminated food and water,” said Machogu.

He made the remarks when he presided over the seventh Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI) graduation for Diploma in Education Leadership in Management.

“Make sure that the food that students eat in school is properly inspected and also that the water is checked every time. It should be inspected by experts to make sure it is fit for human consumption so as to avoid the kind of situation we got into in some of our schools,” added the CS.

Machogu dismissed claims on social media that school opening dates had changed.

“Schools are opening on Monday. I have seen in the social media stories which have not emanated from the Ministry or have not originated from myself so ignore what is on social media,” the CS said.

Machogu cautioned teachers against  corporal punishment which he insisted  remains banned.

“Follow Ministry directives, which clearly indicate no corporal punishment. I have seen such cases becoming very common where teachers are meting out corporal punishment on students,” said the CS.

“Once any teacher indulges in that habit of corporal punishment to our students, that is actually a criminal activity, inform teachers to desist from that habit taking root in the country,” he added.

Last week, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) decried the status of junior secondary school (JSS) tutors, even as it demanded their remuneration.

New teachers

Kuppet secretary general Akelo Misori said JSS teachers should be paid their salary arrears before the start of second term.

“KUPPET National Governing Council (NGC) demands that JSS teachers be paid all their salary arrears before the commencement of the new school term.

“We also demand that JSS teachers be promptly paid for their time and expenses in the training for the curriculum,” said Misori, in a press conference held in Nairobi.

Last week, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said it recruited 35,550 JSS teachers who reported to their stations in February and March.

As is the procedure, the commission said the recruits were given 30 days within which to report to their stations, which leads to some commencing work later than others.

“This sometimes causes delays in the processing of their salaries. So far, the commission has processed over 50 per cent of the salaries of the newly employed teachers. Teachers can confirm the payments with their banks,” said the TSC.

“We apologise for any delays that may have been occasioned by late reporting of teachers to their stations, or delayed submission of requisite documents.

“All efforts are being made to effect all the salaries in May. For any related enquiries, please contact the Director, Human Resource Management and Development,” TSC added.

Scholarships

The union reiterated its call upon the government to reconsider the place of junior secondary to avert collapse of the CBC curriculum due to low infrastructure capacity in primary schools and unclear reporting channels whereby JSS teachers work under primary school headteachers.

“It is never too late for the government to correct course and do justice to our suffering children,” said Misori.

Meanwhile, it is an activity-filled week for universities.

The Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Service (KUCCPS) have until tomorrow to declare the cost of academic programmes.

In a letter to vice chancellors and principals of university constituent colleges, KUCCPS Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wahome asked the institutions to provide the information by May 9.

“Kindly note that even though KUCCPS will publish all programs, the Government will only provide scholarships to students who select degree programs in public universities,” said Wahome, in a letter dated May 5.

“Students who will select programs in private universities and TVET programmes offered by universities will not get Government scholarships, and will only be eligible to apply for HELB loan,” she added.

With the Tuesday deadline for provision of programme costs, the placement service expects to open its portal by May 17 to allow the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates to select courses.

Last week, President William Ruto announced a new funding model for universities and colleges.

The government said funding will be student centred and apportioned to individual students according to their level of need.

Ruto, however, stated that the new model does not increase fees.

“Universities and TVETS will no longer receive block funding in form of capitation based on a Differentiated Unit Cost. Funding to students will combine scholarships, loans and household contributions on a graduated scale, scientifically determined by a Means Testing Instrument (MTI),” said Ruto.

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