Back to School: MPs Express Concern Over Unpreparedness

  • Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha at a school in Nyeri on October 28, 2020.
    Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha at a school in Nyeri on October 28, 2020.
    File
  • Members of Parliament representing Kiambu County on Monday, December 28, raised a number of concerns regarding the level of preparedness for the reopening of schools set for January 4.

    Speaking to the media on behalf of his colleagues, Kiambu Township MP Jude Jomo decried the lack of vital funding for primary schools in the region.

    "We have not received the funds as yet in our primary schools. We have tried talking to our friends because we want to be ready. We do not want our children to come back to school only to find that we have no washing bays.

    "If for any remote chance we fail to get the money, then we shall move a motion in Parliament and demand for all the money that has been disbursed by the Treasury," he asserted.

    An empty college classroom in Kenya
    An empty college classroom in Kenya
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    His sentiments were echoed by local leaders and stakeholders who went on to point out that most schools were yet to receive the new recommended desks. 

    The issue of insufficient classrooms to cater to the new normal of mandatory social distancing was also raised.

    On his part, Education CS George Magoha maintained that every learner should report to school, adding that learning institutions have adhered to covid-19 guidelines. 

    The CS was speaking following a tour of schools in Kisumu County, Seme Constituency where he inspected the production of locally assembled desks for schools in the area.

    On December 24, all Education Ministry officers presently on leave were recalled to prepare for the reopening of schools.

    However, despite the reassuring words by the Ministry, parents and teachers have raised concerns on how Covid-19 health guidelines will be enforced. 

    Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha in Kisumu on December 28, 2020.
    Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha in Kisumu on December 28, 2020.
    File

    Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Nairobi branch executive secretary Moses Mbora recently revealed that 83 schools have been shut for lack of suitable infrastructure in Nairobi County alone.

    At the same time, parents are grappling with the reality of the fast-looming reopening date with school fees top on the agenda.

    Speaking to the media, a majority of parents confessed to having had to forego the Christmas festivities and opted to work around the clock in a bid to raise the required fees. 

    CS Magoha recently directed that no student should be sent home over lack of school fees if it is established that he/she is genuinely unable to raise the amount.

    Learners in Grade Four, Standard Eight and Form Four will also resume school on January 4, despite having recently closed for the holidays on December 23.

    The Ministry of Education has issued guidelines that schools must follow, including social distancing, installing handwashing points, and ensuring children and teachers have masks all the time.

    To ensure adherence, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered chiefs and their assistants to ensure every child reports to school.

    The President said the government remains on course for the resumption of learning, with the safety of children being prioritised.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta interacting with a student of Nyiro Girls’ Secondary School from Baragoi (Samburu County) at State House, Nairobi on Friday, November 1, 2019
    President Uhuru Kenyatta interacting with a student of Nyiro Girls’ Secondary School from Baragoi (Samburu County) at State House, Nairobi on Friday, November 1, 2019
    PSCU