CS Magoha outlines reasons why schools will resume in 2021, with 2020 calendar lost

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Education CS Prof. George Magoha interacting with Chavakali High School candidates when he visited the school
Education CS Prof. George Magoha interacting with Chavakali High School candidates ahead of the 2019 KCSE exam

Education CS Prof. George Magoha has announced learning in primary and secondary schools will resume in January 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking to the press on Tuesday, CS Magoha cited the rising cases, and existing Covid-19 restrictions, adding that education stakeholders opted against the planned September reopening after the recent spike in the number of infections. However, Teacher Training Colleges and TVET institutions will be allowed to reopen in September subject to strict adherence to the Ministry of Health directives. Reopening of Universities for face to face sessions will be on a case-by-case basis based on approved compliance with the Ministry of Health Covid-19 protocols.

CS Magoha said plans to open schools in September were shelved because there will be two Form One class cohorts in the 2021 academic calendar, the country will experience equity challenges when only two basic education classes reopen and transition while all the other learners lose one year and that all learners in Grade 1 to 4, Standard 5 to 7, and Form One to Three in 2020 will remain in their current classes in 2021.

He said another impediment is that although all the 2020 Form 4 cohort will have left, the total candidature is 752,836 against a candidature of 1,191,326 in Standard 8, “In view of the 100% transition policy, this means that there will be no classrooms for 438,490 learners in Form One. It will be therefore difficult to achieve the social/physical distancing measure,” he added. He said there will also not be KCPE and KCSE exams in 2021 because the current Standard 7 and Form 3 students will not be able to cover the curriculum load for 5 terms in one year and sit for the exams.

On travelling from different Counties to go back to school, Magoha said movement of students to boarding schools will pose a challenge, keeping in mind students coming from Counties with high infection rates like Nairobi and Mombasa. The number of teachers required will also pose a challenge, with more teachers needed to meet the demand of split classes, “In Form One, the compulsory subjects are 11, which will necessitate employment of more teachers to handle the Form One double intake cohorts.”

However, the CS affirmed that the Education Ministry will enhance its online learning program. He sad that will explore innovative ways to enhance equity. The decision on reopening of schools applies to all children, including those in schools offering international curriculum.