Sections of international media poked holes into Kenya's Ministry of Education questioning decisions made by CS George Magoha on the exam calendar and national exams.
The US-based New York Times published an article dubbed Kenya’s Unusual Solution to the School Problem: Cancel the Year and Start Over on Thursday, August 6.
This article was based on Magoha's decision to scrap off the entire academic year and postpone the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations and the Kenya Certificate of Primary Examinations to 2021. The CS also directed all learning institutions to remain closed until 2021.
NYT stated that education experts in Kenya believe that the country is the only nation to have cancelled its entire academic year as other countries circumvented around the Covid-19 pandemic to find solutions to prevent an academic crisis.Education CS George Magoha addresses legislators in Parliament February 2020File
While making the decisions, Magoha stated that he was out to protect teachers and students after being advised by the Ministry of Health that Covid-19 cases will spike up between September 2020 and January 2021.
"Kenyan education experts said that while the goal of cancelling the entire school year is to level the playing field, it might just widen these already-existing gaps. Once schools reopen, two sets of students (ones who had access to technology and those who did not) will not be on the same level or able to compete equally in national exams," the piece states.
It also questioned how students from marginalised backgrounds will access e-learning or lessons taught via radio and TV.
With private schools facing closure, most wealthy parents have reportedly opted to transfer students to British, French or other private foreign schools in Kenya, which plan to give their students foreign-standardized tests at the end of the cancelled academic year.
The Economist further stated that Kenya’s government scrapped the whole year, leaving its children idle until January 2021. Magoha is seemingly under pressure from Members of Parliament who want him to allow candidates to sit national exams in 2020.
The CS faced the Education Committee in Parliament on Thursday, August 6, where he declined to approve KCSE and KCPE exams being set from the covered syllabus before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out on Friday, March 13.
Magoha also raised doubts on January 2021 reopening of schools, hinting that students may stay home for a longer time.
"Decisions regarding reopening of learning institutions may change as informed by prevailing circumstances and increased knowledge of Covid-19. If we open in January and there is a surge, we will step down and observe the trends. People have tried to open, like South Africa, and have shut again," Magoha warned.
The CS argued that Kenya would only allow her students to go back in class when the Coronavirus (Covid-19) curve flattens for 14 consecutive days.File image of students in a class
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