TSC wants petition against schools’ closure dismissed

Thursday, September 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Pupils in class. Photo/Courtesy

Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMbugua

Teachers Service Commission wants the court to dismiss a suit filed by a parent challenging the closure of schools due to Covid-19.

TSC, through an affidavit by Reuben Nthamburi, a director in-charge of Quality Assurance and Standards, argued that the petition filed by Joseph Aura  fails  to appreciate that the re-opening of schools must be safe and consistent with the country’s overall prevalence to the virus.

Commission is also seeking the order stopping the community-based learning be lifted as it is the most suitable means of engaging learners during the pandemic.

“The objective of community-based learning is to engage learners in productive activities with a view to equip them with knowledge related to the pandemic as well as impact them with practical life skills,’ states Nthamburi.

The suit filed by Aura seeks an order directing the Education Cabinet Secretary to reopen learning institutions, commencing on September 1, being the immediate next academic term for schools across the country.

“Oppressive psychological and mental torture inflicted on school-going Kenyan children in consequence of the closure of schools affected by the Education CS since March is gravely injurious to them,” he said in court documents.

Through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, the parent argues that the closure of schools, which was effected following the state of the Nation address by the President in March, was unconstitutional.

Net effect

“To date no gazettement of the decision to close the schools has been made. The decision was implemented by Education CS without consultation with the National Education Board, parents and learners.

The net effect of the said act is to undercut the constitutional all statutory rights of school going children,” he said in court documents.

TSC, however, dismissed the claims saying it works closely with the Education CS for the provision and optimal utilisation of the teaching resource for implementation of programs in the education sector.

“The assertion that the commission has failed to exercise its mandate by not articulating to the government the plight of the teachers in public  and private schools  suffering in the midst of the arbitrary open ended closure of school is unfounded  and without basis,” stated Nthamburi.

TSC notes the multi-agency committee; National Covid-19 Education Response Committee formed to look into the reopening of schools was against the immediate opening of schools.

It proposed measures to be put in place before schools could be considered safe for reopening  which  the Education CS has been doing.

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