Schools Reopening: Govt Speaks on Mandatory Testing for Teachers, Students

  • File image of KCSE students preparing for an exam
    File image of KCSE students preparing for an exam
  • Education PS Belio Kipsang opposed plans to have teachers and students undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing when schools reopen.

    Kipsang spoke on Monday, October 5, while leading celebrations on Teachers' Day in Nairobi. 

    The PS argued that the process would be expensive as the government would be forced to avail testing kits for over 17 million individuals. 

    "We need over 17 million testing kits. We have over 15 million pupils in primary schools, 160,000 in teachers training colleges and technical institutions and over 400,000 teachers. 

    Education PS Belio Kipsang consults with KNEC acting CEO Mercy Karogo at an education forum in 2019

    "It will be impossible to take all of them through physical testing," Kipsang stated.

    He added that the government would resort to using thermo-guns only to test for temperatures of teachers and students. 

    On June 23, Education CS George Magoha had hinted at forcing teachers to undergo coronavirus tests. However, the government’s ability to conduct mass testing was also questioned.

    The Council of Governors further heaped pressure on the CS to have nursery students undergo mandatory tests

    In a statement on Friday, September 25, governors stated that they would undertake random testing of Covid-19 on Children in Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDEs) centres before re-opening.

    The county heads also urged the Ministry of Health to support counties with testing kits to facilitate the process.

    Raising funds for upgrading schools has, however, been a challenge with the government turning towards parents and teachers for help. 

    Its Ksh 1.9 billion fund set aside for purchasing desks has been dimmed less to cover all public schools. Parents and teachers were directed to purchase masks for students and also facilitate purchasing of more desks, clean running water and construction of additional classrooms. 

    Education CS George Magoha (sitting at the centre) demonstrates social distancing to education stakeholders during a crisis meeting in Nairobi on Friday, September 11, 2020