The enhancement of COVID-19 rules in primary and secondary schools is set to cost Sh400 billion, architects have revealed.
According to the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK), enhancing the COVID-19 rules will require certain changes including the construction of additional classrooms to accommodate more students ahead of January 4, 2021 reopening.
For instance, an additional 367,000 classrooms will need to be constructed so as to meet the 20 students per class threshold.
“Based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation, we would need about Sh400 billion to build and equip additional learning spaces to accommodate 20 learners per classroom in primary and secondary schools,” AAK President Mugure Njendu is quoted by a local publication.
In the financial year 2020/2021, the Ministry of Education allocated Sh11.4 billion for development purposes and Sh87.7 billion for recurrent expenditures.
Architects argue that the government needs to construct additional 245,000 classrooms in primary schools and 122,000 more in secondary schools. This is to help achieve the 1.5-meter social distancing rule as stipulated by the Ministry of Health.
Ahead of January 2021 reopening, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Education Ministry to put up safety measures including social distancing rules to combat the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
In the 50-page document, the guidelines ahead of January reopening were highlighted where the institutions will be required to develop policies and procedures suitable in their own environment to enable smooth reopening of the institution.
Every school will have to map an emergency health facility that is within 10 km and collaborate with the County government to have some health personnel assigned to the institution for regular health monitoring and sensitizations.
The progressive reopening of primary and secondary schools commenced on Monday, October 12, 2020, with Grade 4 (Competency-Based Curriculum), Class 8 and Form 4 learners reporting to their respective schools.
“The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, will continuously monitor adherence to ‘Guidelines on Health and Safety Protocols for Reopening of Basic Education Institutions amid COVID-19 Pandemic’ in order to determine when to re-open for all other learners in primary and secondary schools,” the statement read in part.
All students are thus expected to be back in school on January 4, 2021, to continue with their school calendar.