School Re-Opening Blunders That Have Put Magoha on The Spot

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    Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha assesses Grade 3 learning at Joy Town Special School in Thika in September 2019
  • Since President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the closure of schools in March 16, 2020, Education CS George Magoha has been on the spot over pronouncements he has made on critical issues in the Education ministry. 

    For a number of times, the CS has said one thing or the other that he has had to retract, confusing both parents and children who are at home and anticipating the re-opening of schools.

    In July 7, 2020, the Ministry of Education announced that the 2020 academic year would be considered lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic, hence, all primary and secondary schools would reopen in January 2021.

    Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha pictured in Kisumu on August 9, 2020.
    Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha pictured in Kisumu on August 9, 2020.

    Almost two months later, the ministry would change its stand indicating that schools might resume before January 2021 if the Covid-19 curve flattened.

    “I want to state here that on a daily basis we get reports and the position of opening schools in January was not cast on concrete," Magoha stated.

    Hours later, Magoha indicated that powerful forces, including cartels in his ministry, were behind the pressure to reopen schools before the Covid-19 curve flattens.

    “Businesses associated with opening of schools, some small number of private schools, some cartels in my own ministry are behind the narrative that schools must open,” the CS stated during his tour in Kisii County on Tuesday, August 25.

    The school re-opening stalemate has attracted the World Health Organisation who have urged African countries to re-open, arguing most  children were suffering at home.

    In response, Magoha told off WHO for what he described as an attempt to turn Africans into guinea pigs.

    "Do you think it is our president and his government who have the interests of our children at heart or is it WHO and UNICEF? 

    "The same WHO is double-speaking, I am Magoha, son of Magoha and you can take it to the bank. They have given us protocols which apply to everybody else," Magoha stated.

    In late July, the Ministry of Education would introduce community based learning approach with an aim of engaging learners to gain good personal habits, competencies, skills and values.

    It would be shot down on Tuesday, August 25, when the High Court temporarily stopped the ministry from implementing the community-based learning program.

    Justice James Makau made the directive after a parent, James Aura, through his lawyer, filed a petition seeking to bar the CS from executing the program.

    "I am hearing a lot of issues regarding the program. If you live in a gated area that has 30 children and there is one teacher there, why are you saying you need PPEs? If you don’t want to teach the children, then don’t. The children belong to you," Magoha ranted.

    Teachers have also complained about the Ministry, especially due to the lack of payment since March when the schools were closed.

    The government indicated that the delay of Boards of Management teachers' payment had been caused by some school heads' attempts to swindle the government.

    The funds were later released on Tuesday, August 25 with PS Belio Kispang indicating that the money would only be channelled to teachers after data issued by school heads is verified. 

    BOM teachers would be forced to forego three months pay as the Ministry outlined tough conditions for the broke teachers.

    Education CS George Magoha addresses MPs in Parliament on March 14, 2019