Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has advised President Uhuru Kenyatta against reopening schools in September as earlier announced.
Magoha cited the surge in the number of the coronavirus cases as reason for asking for more time before learning in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools can resume.
The CS noted that it will be difficult to enforce social distancing in 40,000 schools with a population of over 14 million students.
“I will advise not to open schools when the infections from the disease are rising. We propose that school clusters be attached to a health facility before we can open,” Magoha said during a virtual meeting with the Head of State, his deputy William Ruto, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and Governors on Thursday, June 25.
Magoha also reiterated the remarks on Friday in Kisumu where he said that technical institutions were at a better position to reopen in September than primary and secondary schools.
“TVET institutions have a much better chance of survival in terms of achieving social distancing, they can open in shifts much more easily than primary and secondary schools, ” said Magoha.
“Each of the institutions should have access to a medical facility which is linked to them.”
The CS, however, said it’s practically impossible to alter our school calendar to start in September.
The CS said that Kenya being a member of the East African community can not independently alter the school calendar without consulting with other members.
“Can the government change the calendar so that we start our year in September the answer is a big no because we are a senior member of East African Community. The president will have to consult and if they so no then its something we won’t even waste time on, ” said Magoha.
The President had early this month asked Magoha to fast track and finalize the ongoing consultation with stakeholders and come up with a guideline that will help in gradual resumption of the education activities in the country in September.
“The guideline should also include the protocols to be followed by all learning institutions in order to guarantee not only safety of children but that of parents and grandparents, ” said President Kenyatta.
Magoha had on Wednesday indicated that classrooms will hold between 15 to 20 learners when schools reopen.
This, according to the CS, will help ensure the learners maintain the required 1.5 metres social distance between them so as to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Further, the minister said, every child will receive at least two face masks as part of efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.