Phased Reopening for Universities.
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19-The Ministry of Education has asked Universities to expedite repair works so as part of preparations for phased re-opening.
Principal Secretary State Department for University Education and Research, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, said the re-opening of universities for normal learning sessions will be on a case-by-case basis based on approved compliance with protocols issued by the Ministry of Health on COVID-19.
He noted that very few universities have made maximum progress in implementing the guidelines and are conducting online sessions as they await inspection.
The PS was speaking during his visit to the South Eastern Kenya University campus in Kitui County and Machakos University in Machakos County.
Reopening Schools Announcement
“We may announce re-opening anytime but it is essential that all universities comply with the COVID-19 preventive measures if they are to reopen and avoid spread of infections or even death among students,” said the PS.
He outlined social distancing handwashing with soap or use of sanitizers, wearing of face masks and monitoring body temperature as the minimum requirements for the health and safety of learners while at the institutions.
Education stakeholders have been holding consultative forums ahead of a government school calendar review meeting scheduled for September 25.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is at the end of September expected to issue new guidelines on the further re-opening of the economy which has slowed down since March.
Schools will open on October 19 while Standard Eight and Form Four learners will sit their national exams in April 2021 if the government adopts proposals by a committee appointed by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.
Term dates Report
As a result of the disruption on term dates, the committee also recommends that the school calendar be revised to allow the year to begin in June instead of the usual January-to-November cycle. The Sunday Nation understands that learners will not repeat classes as it had been announced earlier, but the mechanics of how that vision will be accomplished remain scanty.
The team of senior education stakeholders proposes to reorganise the academic calendar such that the second term starts in October and ends in November, and the third term starts in January and ends in March.
Thus the first term in the 2021 calendar will start in May or early June, meaning hundreds of thousands of children scheduled to join Early Child Development Education classes will be delayed for half a year.
The Dr Sarah Ruto-chaired committee has come up with two main proposals on how to manage the crisis caused by Covid-19 in Kenya’s education sector. Its report will be presented to Prof Magoha tomorrow and a major announcement on the way forward is expected in the coming days.
- In the first proposal, the stakeholders suggest to have a phased reopening of schools that will see Standard Seven, Standard Eight, Form Three and Form Four students back in class on Monday, October 19. Grade Four pupils, who are the first cohort of the Competency Based Curriculum, are also to report back to school in the first phase. For primary schools, learners in Pre-Primary One and Two and Grades One to Three, and those in Standard Five and Six will be expected to start reporting to schools on November 2. Secondary school students in Form One and Two will also be expected to report back to school on the same time.
- Desks have started being made at County headquarters and they will be distributed immediately they are done.