Magoha maintains return to school dependent on control of coronavirus
Friday, May 8th, 2020
Irene Githinji @gitshee
Parents should prepare to have their children at home longer after the government announced that schools would not re-open any time soon.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha yesterday said there was still no definite date for learners to resume normal learning and would continue staying at home for as long as the coronavirus pandemic persists.
Magoha said schools reopening was exclusively dependent on the control of coronavirus situation in the country.
The CS, who was responding to questions from parliamentary Committee on Education, said it was still too early to give specific dates.
“Irrespective of everything we are doing, the pandemic must be controlled first and everything else will follow… if it means we stay home for a year so be it, it is not only Kenya that is in this predicament,” said the CS.
Magoha also stated that no school whether public or private was to allowed to charge termly fees.
However, he said that private schools offering online learning could charge what he described as service fee agreeable between parents and respective schools, which would go a long way in keeping schools afloat.
He said there was at least 155,000 teachers in private schools and their welfare had to be catered for.
And given that not all children have had access to virtual lessons owing to infrastructural challenges, the CS assured that learners would begin covering the syllabus from where they stopped when the schools were indefinitely closed.
“Do not open a metal pipe and force me to give date; the government is consulting so that everyone takes the risk, the risk is too much for one person.
When we open schools, we will ensure children cover what they lost but we should not pretend that we know when this pandemic will end,” said Magoha.
“The children are alive and are at home. So what… they will stay at home,” he added.
When he was asked about national exams given disruption of school calendar thus far, the CS said the government was still consulting widely before it could pronounce itself on the matter.
The MPs also sought an elaborate plan to combat the spread of the disease when schools reopen but the CS said an emergency response plan, which was also presented to the committee, has provided plans to mitigate impacts of the disease.
Concerns have been raised on the status of education in the country, with Amani National Congress (ANC) Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi saying the sector must demonstrate the highest levels of planning and informed action.
Mudavadi said it was a concern that syllabihad not been covered and may not be covered, yet this is where exams would be based.
Last week, the government extended school holidays by another month owing to the rising number of Covid-19 cases.