State reviews schools preparedness

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 00:00 |
Education Director General Elyas Abdi addresses a past function. Photo/PD/FILE

The Government has begun assessing how the more than 30,000 schools in the country are preparing to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols ahead of the re-opening in January.

Education Director General, Elyas Abdi has ordered County Directors of Education to work with both public and private basic education institutions to ensure compliance with the health and safety protocols.

“The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the monitoring exercise that will begin from August 23.

The teams from the Ministry will report to your office for directions and collaboration,” Abdi said, in a letter dated August 21.

During the exercise the education officials will focus on space, safety, health of learners, teachers and non-teaching staff.

Abdi also directed the officers to avail the required data and information, with the teams expected to visit both secondary and primary schools within the county.

There are about 30,000 basic institutions in the country.

“As you are aware, re-opening of educational institutions within the context of Coronavirus disease required adequate preparations by the education sector, line ministries, counties, institution managers, administrators, teachers, parents and religious organisations to work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health,” added Abdi.

Basic education institutions are to resume in-classroom learning in January, as the Ministry addresses the infrastructure challenges.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha said that the 2020 academic year will be considered lost due to coronavirus, the stakeholders having resolved to shelve the initial plan to begin phased reopening next month.

Parents expressed reservations about sending their children to school occasioned by the spike in coronavirus cases.

“Faced with this uncertain environment, the stakeholders have resolved to reopen all basic education learning institutions in January 2021.

This is based on the assumption that the infection curve will have flattened by December,” said Magoha in July.

Explaining why phased reopening was postponed, Magoha said it would mean there will be Two Form One class cohorts in 2021 academic calendar yet there is inadequate capacity for that.

Magoha explained that such a move would have posed a major infrastructural challenge, given the fact that the number of students in schools is already high and it would overwhelm the system even further.

Postponement was also informed by the fact that all learners in Grades 1 to 4, Standard 5 to 7, and Form 1 to 3 in 2020, will remain in their current classes in 2021.

In May, the Government said it has set aside Sh6.5 billion for the Ministry of Education to go towards hiring more teachers and improving infrastructure.

In the 2020/21 Financial Year, National Treasury allocated primary and secondary schools Sh2.1 billion from which Sh1.9 billion will be used to buy 250,000 locally fabricated desks.

Another Sh300 million was set aside for capitation and improvement of infrastructure in low-cost boarding schools.

The Ministry has been assessing the status of preparedness for public and private universities, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvets) and Vocational Training Colleges (VTCs).

Initially, the institutions of higher learning were to resume on-course learning in September but the Ministry pushed re-opening to January, just like basic institutions.

The decision to postpone re-opening was premised on the fact that universities and colleges were not coronavirus disease compliant, yet the number of those infected has been on significant rise.

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