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Tutors unions, rights group oppose school reopening bid

By Christopher Owuor
Friday, May 22nd, 2020
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Irene Githinji @gitshee

Teachers unions and a human rights body have now opposed the proposal to partially open schools next month for examination classes to commence.

The groups including  Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) and Kenya Human  Rights Commission (KHRC) termed the decision as insensitive, pre-emptive, wrong misinformed and against wellbeing of learners.

 “It is insensitive, pre-emptive, foolhardy and extremely wrong for anybody outside the medical profession or without medical expertise to propose the rushed reopening of schools in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, especially at this period when the virus is on spiral, threatening survival of humanity,” the three institutions said in a joint statement yesterday.

Respond to proposal

The groups were responding to proposals by Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) that government should explore strategies to reopen examination classes by June 15.

But the three institutions said a decision to reopen should be informed by an evidence-based analysis on critical information gathered on how schools, teachers, students and communities are coping with closures and pandemic.

 “Preliminary results from a rapid response survey rolled out by the agencies indicate that the situation on the ground is different and might require more effective measures to be put in place before such an action of reopening is undertaken,” read the statement signed by Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion, his UASU counterpart Dr Constantine Wasonga and KHRC executive director George Kegoro. 

They said there is no evidence put forth to inform how the risk factors related to reopening of schools will be mitigated.

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