The battle against Covid-19 has been raging for months now. Schools have turned into isolation centers and learning has had to go digital. As students continue to stay home, the time set by the ministry to complete the syllabus is rapidly depleting. The Insyder plug takes a look at some of the proposals that have been forwarded to the National Education Emergency Response Committee in regard to the reopening of schools.

Reopening Dates

Students going back home after schools closed

As students have already lost six weeks of learning to the pandemic and the national exams approaching, stakeholders differ on the reopening dates. The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has suggested that schools partially reopen by 15th July. This is in contrast to some education stakeholders who have suggested that Kenya follows Western countries and reopen schools in September.

The KUPPET proposal also proposes that students in Form Three, Class Six, and Seven be admitted to schools by August. The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has warned that the government should not be in a hurry to reopen schools just yet. Stakeholders have however declared that any decision to reopen schools should adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines and put emphasis on the protection of students from the virus.

National Exams

Students sitting for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams

Syllabus coverage for the academic year 2020 has been disrupted for more than a month now. As most schools tend to begin revision for KCSE by September, this may not be possible this year. With most stakeholders sticking to a delayed re-opening date, exams will have to be postponed to allow recovery of the time already lost. Most stakeholders have proposed that exams be postponed to early next year. This will allow students and teachers to prepare adequately and be ready for the exams.

Education CS had previously ruled out the postponement of the national exams. However, many are eager to know if the government will stick by this or give in to stakeholders and push the exam dates forward.

Other proposals that have been forwarded to the committee include shortening of school holidays and midterms, mandatory separation of boarding and day facilities in combined schools, sensitization of students and students, frequent fumigation of schools, and cancellation of all co-curricular activities.

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The committee that was set up by CS Magoha and is led by KICD Chairperson Sara Ruto was mandated to craft a back-to-school roadmap and advise the Education CS on health and safety measures to be put in place. The committee is expected to hand in its draft of proposals to the Education CS soon and the fate of schools to be determined after consultations with stakeholders.