School Reopening Dates in Kenya: Unresolved Catch-22

The situation of Education in Kenya right now is more uncertain than ever before; but some media reports indicate that schools could reopen in September.

Recently, The National Education Response Committee undertook a mission to develop recommendations on possible school opening dates. The Committee has allegedly presented an interim report to Education Cabinet Secretary on possible reopening of Schools.

There had been reports lately of schools opening in September, with preference given to 2020 KCSE and KCPE candidates. The interim report is supposedly recommending candidates to sit for their national examinations in February.

There is so much to read from the media these days. In fact, another purported recommendation had hinted that students from PP1 to form 3 could repeat their respective classes next year.

Meanwhile, the number of Corona Virus cases has hit triple figures. On Thursday 28th, the number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Kenya was 147, and 127 on Friday. This compares exponentially to the first two months of the pandemic when the reported cases were ranging within the figures of ones and tens.

The latest statistics, as graphically presented below, confirm that the magnitude and implications of the endemic illness are unquestionably perturbing.

Covid-19 Statistics Kenya (Source: Wikipedia)

Considering the new dynamics, the arguably no-nonsense CS of Education, George Magoha, breathed fire on the media houses of Kenya. In his speech during the Covid-19 updates’ session on Thursday, Magoha accused the media of making philosophical and hyperbolic guesses regarding the likely dates of reopening schools in Kenya.

The key highlights from Magoha’s comments were as follows:

  • The new high numbers have greatly altered the Committee’s mission.
  • Decisions regarding school reopening in Kenya are to be made on the basis of clear evidence and data from the Ministry of Health
  • The reopening of schools is likely to take longer than expected
  • The Ministry of Education will not risk the health and safety of children
  • Mitigation measures are a priority over school reopening
  • Wide consultations will be made before any major decision is made
  • Parents and caregivers to continue the good work of guiding and supervising their children at home

If these comments are to be taken seriously, then the closure of schools will most likely extend to an unforeseen future date.

There is no need, presently, to speculate on matters concerning school opening dates.

We advise parents to take this time as an opportunity to bond with their kids and inculcate proper family values that school can never teach.

In our next post, we will provide an expert view on how parents can make the best out of this situation for their children.

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