President Uhuru Kenyatta, on Monday, July 27, directed the Education Ministry to defer the reopening of universities from September 2020, to January 2021 even as private schools grapple with an unprecedented loss of income.
Speaking to governors during the 5th Extra-Ordinary Session of the National and County Governments Co-ordinating Summit via video link, the President highlighted the need to protect the students from exposure to the Covid-19 as the main reason behind the move.
The President further instructed the Education ministry to ensure online learning and graduations continue as scheduled, adding that Education CS George Magoha would communicate the actual reopening dates soon.
"The ministry will then communicate with parents and students on a way forward in regards to their studies," he stated during his latest address to the nation.President Uhuru Kenyatta interacting with a student of Nyiro Girls’ Secondary School from Baragoi (Samburu County) at State House, Nairobi on Friday, November 1, 2019PSCU
His announcement comes on the same day a CGTN report highlighted the plight of private learning institutions in the country, following the disruption of the academic year.
The Kenya Private School Association stated that about 100 private schools have already shut their doors permanently, and that the majority of Kenya's 11,000 private learning institutions are on a similar path.
Mugure Nderitu, owner of Little Paws Kindergarten, Nairobi, stated that she was in the process of winding up as she could not manage to run her payroll.
"I am at the point now where I am now thinking what to do. Currently, I still have all my staff and I need to figure out where to pay them from," she explained.
Jane Mwangi, coodinator, Kenya Association of International Schools added that they were currently watching self sufficient teachers losing their source of livelihood, as well as school owners get into debilitating debt, which left them room for just one option, permanent closure.
Notably, there are areas in Kenya where the ratio of private schools to public schools is 44 to one, and as such, when these schools close, about a million children may have to join public schools that already operate beyond capacity, thereby making social distancing a tough measure to implement.
There have been growing calls for the government to bail out private institutions to protect the future of the millions of students enrolled there.
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