Magoha cancels holidays for Education ministry staff
"In the meantime, there is no Christmas for my team except Christmas and Boxing Days.
Everybody is going to work until all the desks have been delivered and paid for and all schools are ready,” that was the verdict by Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha yesterday.
However, the Minister said those who had already delivered their desks 100 per cent, forwarded the documents for payment and given the green light that everything is in order, can go on leave.
“Otherwise, everybody including my most humble self, will continue to ensure that our children are prepared to come back to school,” said Magoha, when he assessed preparedness to re-open at Mwiki Primary school yesterday.
He also urged head teachers to ensure there is at least one person who will work with the Ministry, where the desks are yet to be delivered.
“The school should have at least one person so that we can find someone when we inspect schools and the rest can go… if you are sure you are ready and all is well you can go and relax otherwise if I find that you have not received the desk and the school is not ready it will be a problem,” he warned.
He said payment for desk artisans is already underway but urged them to withdraw it and bank it as soon as they receive since the money is being paid in two tranches.
“I want to appeal to artisans that once money has got to your phone, you should remove it so that we can pay the next round because that is becoming a big bottleneck, where we are spending half of the time reorganizing to pay the balance,” he stated.
The CS also dismissed dissenting voices discouraging reopening of schools saying that the January 4 date firmly stands and all must children report back to school.
He said the only challenge is that of social distancing as the Ministry has previously alluded and should not be politicized.
Magoha urged head teachers to allow all children back and agree on a schedule to clear fees.
“There is politics and there is professional policy and ours is to execute professional policy so we will ensure that children have masks, because I have charged every parent that can afford Sh100 two reusable masks,” said the CS.
He said Government has found machinery to provide masks for about 3 million children who cannot afford and so far, at least 1 million have been provided.
“We will not provide masks to everybody because I strongly believe that a large number of couples can afford Sh100.
So all this political noise you are hearing that let Government provide masks for children, ignore it, and let us be serious,” the CS stated.
“Children are a gift from God to our families, can the parents for once be serious, so let us not hear a lot of airtime being given on demands that Government should provide masks.
Parents will provide masks because they can afford it. Government has already paid school and examination fees,” he added.
He said that the KCPE and KCPE exams are now ready and urged children to prepare, even as he saluted teachers for their commitment and professionalism in the manner they have continued to cover the timetable.
“Again you are hearing a lot of noise that we are rushing children, who has told you?
The human brain has a lot of capacity they have left dormant, they will succeed to finish the syllabus before time and they will also revise so stop politicizing very serious issues,” uttered the CS.
“Covid-19 is here to stay and we must learn to stay with it, all the noise you are hearing that we should not open schools ni sauti ya shetani, forget about it we will open on January 4.
May be there will be challenges as we re-open but we will deal with them together as they come.
It will be tough but with positive thinking and collective responsibility we will deliver,” he said.
He also directed public schools to admit all children who were studying in private schools that have closed or those who can no longer afford school fees in these institutions.
“The Ministry will take stock of those private schools that have closed down and we might create temporary centres but all children must take the exam,” he added.
Earlier in his office, Magoha received 700,000 reusable masks from UNICEF Representative to Kenya, Maniza Zaman, to be distributed to schools.