The High Court in Nairobi has banned community-based learning and ordered for reopening of all schools in 60 days.
In a ruling delivered on Thursday, Justice James Makau held that the indefinite closure of schools in Kenya is a violation of school-enrolled children and learners’ right to education. The learning institutions were closed in March over coronavirus fears.
Justice Makau stated that President Uhuru Kenyatta has no power under the Basic Education Act to order for the indefinite closure of learning institutions like he did.
The judge declared community-based learning illegal arguing that Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha acted without consulting the National Education Board and respective County Education Boards.
“An order of injunction be and is hereby issued restraining the 1st respondent (CS) by himself, his assistants and partners, agents, servants or otherwise howsoever together with the 1st interested party, Teacher service commission from undertaking or further executing the community-based learning project in schools and learning institutions across Kenya as announced by the 1st respondent on 30 July 2020,” justice Makau ruled.
The petition was filed by a parent identified as Joseph Enock Aura.
This was before the government announced reopening of schools for Grade Four, Standard Eight and Form Four students. The three classes resumed in-person learning on October 12.
“By decreeing that no person will attend educational institutions across Kenya from March 16, 2020, to January 2021 without any legally or scientifically justifiable basis, the Education CS violated the Constitution,” the petition read.
“For Education CS to now direct that these Children are to repeat their final class in the year 2021 on dubious and unsound bases is categorically unconstitutional and violation of section 7 of the Children Act.”
On Monday, CS Magoha announced that all schools will reopen on January 4, 2021.
The CS assured parents that the government has made necessary arrangements to ensure learners are safe when schools reopen.
“I want to assure the country that the government is determined to ensure a safe reopening and learning in schools, in doing so we are drawing lessons from the partial reopening that has taken place since October, ” the CS said.