Schools closure raises query on learning plan
Questions are emerging over the status of the school calendar following a decision by the Ministry of Education to postpone yet again the resumption of schools from today to Thursday this week.
Learners were expected to go back to school today from half term break to complete the other half of an already strained second term.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha, over the weekend announced an additional three days for learners to stay at home before they can resume learning, owing to a delay in declaration of presidential results.“Following the conduct of our National Elections on Tuesday, August 9, the process of tallying of ballots is still ongoing.
Therefore, following further consultations, I hereby convey the Government’s decision on the suspension of the re-opening of all basic education institutions with effect from Monday, August 15 until Thursday August 18.
This communication supersedes any earlier communication on the re-opening of basic education institutions,” the CS said over the weekend.
With the postponement, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) raised concerns saying that it is a sad state of affairs, given the immense financial and logistical factors involved in the re-opening of schools.
Kuppet Secretary General, Akelo Misori said the Minister must issue a statement on the comprehensive term dates for schools for the rest of the year to remedy the situation.Given the unpredictability of the changes, he stated that education stakeholders are uncertain whether the Minister will adhere to the new date, since the election programme is still unfolding.
As a result, schools, parents and learners find it hard to make plans based on the latest announcement.
“On August 1, KUPPET expressed our utter concern at the spontaneous announcement by Magoha, closing schools for the elections. The decision was universally condemned by all education stakeholders, none of which was consulted in its making,” said Misori, in a statement.
“Barely a week later, the Minister reversed himself on the proposed re-opening date he had decreed. Since then, he has reviewed the date twice, this time calling on schools to resume on Thursday August,” he added.
Learners have only been in school for about one month this term, which is expected to end early next month.
According to the revised calendar, third term is scheduled to start mid next month and end in October to pave way for the national exams.
The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) for Grade six is scheduled for end of November while Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) will be written in December.
Jane Mwangi, a parent, revealed that there was a need to have a legislative policy to ensure elections are held once schools are on long holidays so as not to disrupt the school calendar.
She said it was unfortunate that many parents had paid full fees for their children for the second term yet they were still at home, tensed about whether they will go back to school.“I have a candidate and I do not know how she will seat for the national examinations, we cannot further compress the calendar, the Ministry needs to tell us the way forward,” said Mwangi.
At the same time, the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) is scheduled to open its portal today, August 15 - 30 for Grade 6 learners to select Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) in readiness for placement.