Jan, 4th 2021 – Schools in the country are set to reopen today as others resume within the week. Institutions have prepared adequately by fumigating the classrooms although safety and infrastructural concerns are still looming. The parliamentary administration and security committee is urging the ministry of education to devise ways of minimizing congestion in schools to achieve social distancing.
Kenya has 23,000 public primary schools with more than 12 million pupils and more than three million students in secondary schools. As all levels of learners are set to resume learning today, 4th of January, after a nine month disruption caused by the pandemic, there are no complementary funding for schools nor additional classes.
However, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha said that the government will disburse sh14 billion for secondary schools and more than sh4 billion for primary schools.
He has called upon head teachers to be innovative and set up learning spaces in the open air adding that the government has already delivered close to 500,000 desks for public schools as more will be delivered on Monday.
In line with the public health guidelines that have been set by the Ministry of Health, institutions will be required to stock up on masks and ensure that there are enough hand washing points with running water. He however noted that there is a shortage of one million face masks that is meant for children from poor background.
Nicholas Gathemia, Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association chairperson who is also the president of the East Africa Federation of Head Teachers has expressed his worry that if schools reopen without being accompanied by additional funding, institutions will fall into an upsurge of the virus.
He said, “We were promised extra funding, but it is yet to reach us. We are straining as we prepare to receive learners. It will be a challenge for educational institutions in the context of Covid-19 if measures are not put in place.”
He also added that schools will face difficulties in terms of social distancing as additional classrooms are a necessity in these circumstances. He said, “Social distancing will be a very big challenge in such schools. But we’ve been given the responsibility to organise our schools the best way we can to ensure social distance, so we’ll do whatever we have to do provided we meet the requirement of the curriculum and cover the syllabus that the child doesn’t go to the next class with a backlog.”
At the same time, schools in areas prone to flooding are concerned since the areas have since not been rehabilitated from the past damage. Elsewhere, those schools in extremely dry areas are asking for reservoirs to facilitate proper hand hygiene.
In Nakuru county, Families evicted due to the construction of the Dam are afraid their children may not resume learning. The education leaders have however stated that parents, who do not take their children to school will be taken into account.