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Education ministry urged to ensure social distancing is achieved in schools

By Clement Kamau
Wednesday, December 30th, 2020
Students study while observing social distancing guidelines in a classroom at Ng'ombe Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) School in Lusaka, capital of Zambia. (Xinhua/Martin Mbangweta)
In summary

Parliamentary Adminstration and Security Committee chairman Paul Koinange has urged the Ministry of Education to devise ways of minimizing congestion in schools in order to ensure social distancing among learners is achieved.

He said that when schools reopen early next month, social distancing will pose a major challenge noting that if not thoroughly addressed, the spread of Covid-19 will increase uncontrollably.

The chairman said that the ministry should consider adopting the idea of having morning and afternoon classes in respective streams noting that despite the fact that most schools have put in place the required ministry of health guidelines, social distancing would be hectic to achieve.

"We in Kiambaa have made sure that all school are fumigated, have water points and that thermo guns are available and are also ready to deploy standby medical personnel but congestion in our learning institutions will make social distancing impossible," he regretted.

Speaking at his Kiambaa office where he hosted taxi operators from the area, he said that the government can not be able to build new classrooms for expansion in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak because the same is very expensive.

'To achieve meaningful social distancing, it means that we have to build a new class for every other class in order to minimize congestion and it's very expensive. That why I advise the ministry to put in place a new timetable to accommodate morning and afternoon classes," he said.

Koinange who doubles as the Kiambaa MP said that congestion in public schools will be worsened by the expected flooding of learners to them from private schools which have closed permanently due to the effects of Covid-19.

 He at the same time prevailed upon the striking nurses to consider going back to work on humanitarian grounds as they wait for their employers to look for ways to meet their demands.

Koinange said that it should dawn on the nurses that the country is undergoing a serious and distressing financial phase due to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

"Everybody is going through a difficult situation and we should therefore bear one another and I therefore urge nurses to go back to work," he said.

Added he: "If we fail to bear one another, we are going to go into deeper problems because  many innocent people will die because of the strike and they won't resurrect once the nurse's  grievances are finally addressed."

He further said: "Even President Uhuru Kenyatta, who respects devolution is very depressed because he can helplessly see people suffering and die because they have nobody to take care of them."

Koinange urged respective county governments to move with speed and look for am amicable and permanent solution for the strike to end noting that it had exposed millions of Kenyans to a lot of pain and hopelessness.

"The council of governors should do something. Governors ought to be creative enough and have other sources of income instead of entirely relying on the exchequer," ñhe said.

The MP at the same time advised taxi and boda boda operators to form Saccos in order to secure loans from the national government.

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