Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on Wednesday said it was time to re-open schools.
Citing neighbouring countries where learning has resumed, Magoha told MPs yesterday that continued stay of the learners at home till January may not make any difference as there was no guarantee the Covid-19 situation will change drastically.
The CS indicated the government plans to consider phased re-opening, with Form Four and Standard Eight candidates being the first lot to go back to school.
Magoha, who appeared before the National Assembly’s Education Committee to give update on preparations by the ministry for re-opening, however, did not provide possible re-opening date(s).
“I cannot give you a date, but I assure you that the government is taking every measure into consideration,” he said. “What we must ask ourselves is what is going to be different in January 2021.”
The CS, however, confessed it would be difficult to ensure social distance among learners in schools, stating that it can only be achieved by having fewer students at a time.
He also indicated that some corporates had committed to provide face masks and sanitisers for the schools once they re-open.
“Reducing contact in learning institutions by having fewer learners at the same time will have a great impact in reducing Covid-19 cases and fatalities associated with re-opening of institutions,” the CS told the committee.
“For schools, reopening should prioritise candidate classes (Standard 8 and Form 4) and the pioneer Competency Based Curriculum cohort (Grade 4) to facilitate smooth transition,” said the CS.
He cited Zambia and Angola, which he said have resumed learning that was disrupted by the global pandemic. Learning is also going on in Tanzania and Burundi.
In his last address, President Uhuru Kenyatta asked the Education CS to come up with modalities of ensuring safe resumption of learning.
“Learning institutions should only be reopened when we have and can sufficiently guarantee the safety of all our children. Let us not focus on when schools will reopen, but on how they will re-open,” Uhuru said.
Magoha told the committee about the ongoing engagement by education stakeholders who gave a green light to re-opening of universities and colleges. He said they are putting command centres to monitor how the tertiary institutions and universities will cope under the new environment.