Final year university students resume classes after government directive

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 00:00 |
Principal Secretary State Department for Correctional Services Alfred Cheruiyot (left) with Maseno University VC Julius Nyabundi. Photo/PD/VIOLA KOSOME

It was back to learning for final year students in universities and tertiary institutions following the government’s directive for resumption of classes following the  decline in coronavirus infections.

A spot check conducted by the People Daily in Kiambu Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Kisii, and Trans Nzoia counties showed that most learning institutions had put in place measures to deal with cases of Covid-19 should they arise and thus were allowing students back school.

With students awaiting to sit their exams, different universities allowed students with courses that require practical lessons to attend classes. 

The move comes after last week Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha allowed final year students in all universities and tertiary institutions to report back to class yesterday, in progressive reopening.

In the coast region, public universities  yesterday resumed physical learning in phases with only fourth year students getting first priority to avoid over-stretching of infrastructure in the institution.

In Pwani University, the university vice-chancellor Prof Mohamed Rajab confirmed that about 400 learners commenced physical learning on Monday, and will report in phases to avert overcrowding.

Rajab told People Daily that students will be allowed in phases of two weeks per 400 students, a number he said will be manageable to control overcrowding.

He said the institution will not fully open the institution for learning because the number of students is many.

At the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM), the vice chancellor Prof Laila Abubakar said the university accommodated only 1,500 final year students who are due to sit for their final examinations beginning Tuesday.

“We are bringing them in intervals of one month, after that we will bring third years and then the rest will follow depending on how the Covid-19 situation will look like.

As you know our hostels are accommodating few as a result of social distancing,“ Abubakar told People Daily.

However the students  were asked to complete fees payment before sitting for their final exams beginning Tuesday.

Among those who reported in the learning institution include about 141 students, whose fees were paid courtesy of the Jomvu Constituency bursary fund.

Some of the Universities which resumed opening yesterday have been befitted from Sh14 million while Tertiary institutions got Sh12 million.

Other institutions which have resumed learning at the Coast include,the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic and the Shanzu Teachers Training College,which were by yesterday making its final touches to resume learning.

In Kiambu, most universities and colleges in Thika and Juja  registered high numbers of final-year students who resumed studies after an indefinite closure of schools since March.

At Mount Kenya University, a Thika-based private institution, students said they have been learning and sitting exams online and were only returning to school for practical work.

Led by Gerald Mungai, the students said they took the green light given by CS George Magoha with joy as they would now pursue final touches in their academic endeavour before graduating.

Vice-chancellor Stanley Waundo said the university was fully prepared to handle the students citing the erection of numerous hand washing units, thermo guns to monitor students’ temperatures among other Covid-19 containment measures.

“We are excited to be back for normal learning and as a university, we are fully prepared to handle every student.

We have put in place all the measures requested by the Ministry of Health and we look forward to a safe learning environment,” he said.

The university recalled their final year School of Medicine and Bachelor of Pharmacy and Diploma in Pharmaceutical Technology students late September for face-to-face learning after authorisation by the Clinical Officers Council.

Other institutions registering high numbers of students who started a phased re-opening were Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Juja, Thika Technical Training Institute, Cascade Institute of Hospitality among others.

In Kisii, at the Kisii University, the  vice chancellor, Prof John Akama said the Institution has put in place measures in place to curb Covid-19 and started readmitting final year students in phases to comply with the Ministry of Education’s directives.

In addition he  said that the institution also set aside an isolation unit at its dispensary to handle students who may have high temperatures and require further management.

The VC said the Institution has partnered with Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) to admit students who may exhibit Covid-19 symptoms to be treated at the Facility.

“ We are not taking chances. Students to have to sign forms to abide by the protocols of the Ministry of Health in curbing the Disease” Prof Akama told People Daily yesterday on phone.

The Vice Chancellor said the university expects 3,500 final year students, adding they sit will the examinations for two weeks and go home for the university to readmit other finalists in diploma and certificate courses.

He said no students will be allowed to the Institution and in examination room without wearing a mask,  noting the university’s medical department has set rules. 

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