Education CS Magoha orders varsities to reopen from Monday

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 00:00 |
An entrance to Kenyatta University. Photo/PD/Gerald Idhana

The Ministry of Education yesterday announced the gradual re-opening of  universities and tertiary colleges starting next week, giving hope for resumption of 2020 academic calendar.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha directed that progressive reopening will commence with final year students at the institutions with effect from Monday.

“The examination classes of Teachers Training Colleges (TTCs) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) will report on October 5,” said Magoha, in statement.

The Councils, Vice-Chancellors and Principals have been directed to ensure full compliance with guidelines and protocols issued by the Ministry of Health, failure to which their respective institutions will be closed.

Magoha directed boards of TTCs and TVETs to announce the resumption date for in-person learning for other classes with priority being accorded to students undertaking practical courses.

Respective university councils and Senates are also to announce the date for resumption of in person learning for students in other academic classes with priority being given to those undertaking science based courses.

“Safe resumption of in-person learning in all universities and tertiary institutions requires utmost fidelity to the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 protocols,” the CS said.

Innovative approaches

The CS directed that all learning institutions should strictly adhere to coronavirus safety protocols.

These include monitoring of body temperatures for all learners and any one accessing the institutions, observance of high levels of hygiene, hand washing and use of sanitisers.

The institutions will also be expected to adopt innovative approaches to uphold use of face masks or shields.

The CS said that all universities and tertiary institutions that had been designated as quarantine centres will be fumigated under supervision of Ministry of Health prior to their reopening.

He directed that all universities and tertiary institutions must be linked to a health facility prior to being reopened.

“All learning institutions will provide psychosocial and spiritual support for learners and staff during the subsistence of the current pandemic,” Magoha directed.

Consequently, education officials in conjunction with public health officials will continuously monitor and review levels of compliance with respect to health measures.

The CS issued the directives a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that modalities on how learners will resume be comprehensively agreed upon first.

On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said of paramount consideration as a government and parents is on safety and wellbeing of children, as opposed to other issues.

Saying that the lives of learners and their health is not a matter for debate, the President stated that learning institutions should only be reopened when the government can sufficiently guarantee the safety of all children.

“I plead with Kenyans, let us not focus on when schools will reopen but how these schools open in a manner that protects our children, their lives and health,” said the President in his national address.

“Let us not fight because of such things, let us think first about their health and wellbeing and once we have established how then together we will agree when,” he added.

He explained that resumption of in-person learning must be predicated on strict adherence to the health protocols and guidelines as issued by the Ministry of Health

The President urged Magoha to develop a formula within which learners can resume learning.

“ Once we have agreed on the how, we will thereafter issue a calendar for the resumption of 2020 academic year if it is to be or it is going to be 2021. That will depend on certain directives and how we will agree,” the President added.

For basic education, the government has already directed that teachers report to their duty stations everyday to start the preparations for resumption of learning.

However, a section of some tutors accused Teachers Service Commission (TSC) of rushing to issue the directive without a clear road-map.

At the same time, calls have been made for the government to release capitation funds for purposes of infrastructure development.

The ministry, however, is already in the process of procuring Sh1.9 billion worth of locally assembled desks for secondary and primary schools, to enhance the social distancing rule.

The programme will realise delivery of 622,257 desks to both primary and secondary schools across the country.

Some 5,254 and 5,136 secondary and primary schools respectively, will benefit from the programme.

Primary schools will receive 360,000 desks worth Sh900 million while secondary schools will receive 263,157 lockers and chairs at a total cost of Sh1 billion.

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