Education CS Magoha, team need to get their act right
Wednesday, September 30th, 2020
The Ministry of Education is once again in focus after President Uhuru Kenyatta issued guidelines for reopening of the economy and social interaction in the wake of reducing Covid-19 infections but declined to order resumption of learning.
The ministry, under the guidance of Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha, has lately been associated with indecision and multiple flip-flops on the country’s readiness to reopen schools, seven months after the institutions were closed.
As the rest of the world weighed various options to get children back to class as soon as possible, the honchos at Jogoo House, the ministry headquarters, have not only been ambivalent and demoralising, they have also been unreliable and employing ad hoc approaches to critical issues.
Indeed, the President’s decision to veto the ministry’s plan to reopen schools is the latest demonstration that those tasked with guiding the government on the way forward in the education sector are either short of ideas or do not appreciate the huge implications of their decisions.
Not long ago, the President asked Magoha to meet stakeholders in the sector and come up with clear guidelines on how learning institutions would be reopened. Magoha’s team did not come up with a convincing road-map.
Pronouncements from the ministry and communication to headteachers to a situation where top officials left too many gaps in the reopening plan.
Indeed, they seem to have adopted a strategy of leaving everything they could not solve to parents.
From provision of masks and clean water to social distancing, guardians were supposed to find ways of running schools safely.
Compare this with Uganda which has put in place elaborate guidelines for reopening of learning institutions.
It would seem education authorities in Kampala are clear in their minds what needs to be done and how it should be done.
Magoha and the team he leads do not have luxury of time. That is why it is reassuring that they seem to have realised this after yesterday’s announcement that universities and other tertiary institutions resume teaching from Monday.
They should now move with speed and come up with a safe and practical way of getting all Kenyan children back to class.
It might also be important for them to note that inasmuch as the President makes critical announcements that affect the country, ministers bear responsibility of giving sound, timely advice.