The Ministry of Education will in the next two weeks release possible scenarios in the school calendar in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha says the safety of the children is a priority even it means pushing the national exams and re-opening of schools which remains a concern for many to next year.
Appearing before the National Assembly Education and Research committee on Thursday, Magoha said the fate of the pending exams is a matter to be decided by an inter-ministerial decision and not the sole decision of the education ministry.
The CS who dissuaded the public from putting emphasis on national examinations remained non-committal on the opening dates noting that their decision will be informed by how the pandemic behaves.
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“If children are going to stay at home for one year, so be it because they are safe there. Don’t ask me the specific dates when we are going to re-open schools. Exams can be done next year”, the CS told the MPs.
He added “The behaviour of this disease is unpredictable. Do not ask me the specifics dates when we are going to re-open schools. The pandemic must be put under control first and is what will inform our decision in the two weeks when we give possible scenarios”.
With about 60 per cent of 15 million learners in both primary and secondary schools reportedly missing out on virtual learning owing to lack of access to technology, the MPs took to task the CS on the same.
He admitted existing challenges in implementing e-learning but assured disadvantaged learners will be given an equal opportunity when schools reopen including remedial engagements to ensure they are all are par.
He categorically stated that learners will continue with the syllabus from where they stopped.
”When schools open, the syllabus will start from where it stopped. Our teachers are good and if they focus on the children who perhaps didn’t have the benefit of using e-learning at home, they will be able to cover the syllabus quickly”.
He dismissed a proposal by Saku MP Dido Ali to have the country divided into three zones to address the education gaps saying the existing technological challenges affected children in all regions including urban centres.
The government does not support zoning of the country into It is wrong to insinuate that challenged children are coming from one region. Even here in Nairobi in slums, we have many who are disadvantaged”.
Magoha further absolved private institutions charging fees from blame saying private institutions are at liberty to charge for their services in cases where such institutions are providing supplementary learning materials.
The Ministry will be engaging the National Assembly budget committee to ensure more allocation of funds to Covid-19 education kitty.
“Our government has the best interest of our children at heart. We will require additional exchequer funds to get supplies like soap and sanitisers. We will present our budget next Wednesday. We expect this house to appropriate funds”.
Vetting of online content
Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang put on notice those purporting to offer online lessons and are not certified teachers declaring that all content developers must be vetted and approved by KICD.
“All the content that is being delivered online has to be vetted and assessed by KICD while the persons delivering this context must be teachers registered by the Teachers Service Commission,” he told the committee.
The statement was directed at a number of Kenyans including Embakasi MP Babu Owino who have been helping students with revision classes. The MP took to his Facebook page to teach math to form four students.