Teachers report in high spirits, ready to work

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020 09:00 |
Kazi Mtaani youths clean classrooms at Pand Pieri Primary School in Kisumu, yesterday. Photo/PD/Viola Kosome

More than 90 per cent of teachers yesterday reported back to work as directed by the Ministry of Education.

A spot check by People Daily in  Kisumu, Kiambu, Mombasa, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia and Kajiado counties indicated that the teachers were forming committees expected to prepare resumption of studies. 

This even as the President yesterday announced that schools remain closed as stakeholders continue to consult widely on the way forward.

Education Ministry had earlier directed all schools to form committees that will seek to enforce Ministry of Health guidelines on Covid-19.

Teachers were also preparing timetables, a sign that the government is ready to have learners go back to the school.

In addition, some of the teachers who sought anonymity said they had been forced to clean up staff-rooms as most of the non-teaching staff had not resumed work.

In Kiambu, Thika West Director of Education Ronald Mbogo, said majority of teachers had resumed and only a section of those who live in far-flung areas had not returned to work but were expected to do so by the end of the week.

According to him, most institutions have procured enough water storage facilities and hand washing units that will see heightening of hygiene measures when learners return to school.

“Almost 100 per cent of our teachers are back. They are adequately prepared to teach.

We are  also ready to support the government in its bid to prepare a system that will see all our children back to school,” he said.

In Mombasa, most institutions recorded 100 per cent turn-out of teachers as directed by  the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

At Allidina Visram Secondary School, the principal, Juma Mshimu, said all his teachers had complied with TSC order requiring them to report to their respective work stations.

“We do not want to be caught flat-footed when students are allowed back to school.

With the committees we have formed where each group will oversee different issues that include cleaning, desk organisation and labelling of the classes, we expect a seamless process once schools are re-opened,” said Mshimu.

Raises concern

At Kongowea Primary, head teacher  Winfred Odongo, also reported that at least 98 per cent of her teachers had reported back and had all clocked in. 

In Kisumu, several teachers reported to work in their respective institutions.

County Executive officer in-charge of Education John Awiti said 90 per cent of teachers  had already reported. 

“We have conducted  a spot check, and  we are pleased to announce that a majority of teachers have reported,”.

In Vihiga, teachers reported back to their respective schools to comply with the Ministry of Education directives.

In Uasin Gishu, many teachers heeded the call to report to work though school heads have raised concerns  over funding to enable them procure water tanks among other MoH Covid-19 guidelines. 

Wareng High School principal Julius Kamatei said they are lacking funds to put up washing points, soaps and sanitizers.

“We had staff meeting with teachers and support staff. We are cleaning up and cutting grass among other routine exercises,” Said Kamatei.

In Trans Nzoia, tutors were optimistic that learning will resume to allow students catch up from where they left.

However, they raised concern that they may be forced to clean the institutions after non-teaching staff failed to turn up citing non-payment of their salaries.

Most of the teachers interviewed by People Daily said that they had fully complied in line with MoH protocols with students expected to report in shifts.

In Nyamira, tutors resumed their respective schools after staying home for six months due to  the outbreak of the  coronavirus pandemic  in March.

At Gesore Primary, all the 12 teachers had reported  to duty  by time this reporter visited the institution .

However, in most of the institutions  visited, little activities were going  on as  most  teachers spent most of their  time sitting in staff room chatting the experiences they had during the coronavirus pandemic period. 

“The truth of the matter is that the opening of schools at this time is not ideal .Most of the parents have no  money and above all their children and teachers are  not psychologically prepared for the reopening of schools” said a teacher who sought anonymity .

Sufficient infrastructure

But in Kajiado, teachers’ union said public schools were not ready for reopening due to lack of proper and sufficient infrastructure that can help contain Covid-19.

Speaking to People Daily, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Executive Secretary Kajiado branch Elly Korinko  raised concern saying that 90 per cent of public schools have no access to clean water and are characterised with congestion.

“Reopening schools in Kajiado is so untimely. It is a disaster in waiting incase of any corona outbreak. Before the pandemic, there was already a congestion crisis and evidence poor hygiene levels occasioned by lack of water,”said Korinko.

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

The Government has already issued stringent guidelines for reopening of basic education institutions amid coronavirus pandemic and will be expected to ensure full compliance.

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