Prof. George Magoha now says the government is mulling over the reopening of campuses earlier than the planned January 2021.
Speaking in Migori County, the minister said the number of new coronavirus infections have been declining steadily in the recent past, prompting a possible review of Kenya’s education calendar.
“It appears the virus’ spread is stagnating,” said Magoha, who addressed journalists at the office of Migori Governor Okoth Obado on Tuesday, August 25.
“Should the situation change then we shall be ready and willing to look at the scenario once again in the interest of our children,” added the minister, implying that Kenya’s education calendar is up for review.
“Our intention as government is to ensure schools are reopened as early as yesterday. However, the bottom-line is our children should be safe when they return. We are doing everything possible, including making water and sanitizer points available in schools. We’ll go to the extent of providing face masks, where possible,” he added.
On July 7, 2020, Magoha said the Ministry in consultation with relevant stakeholders had resorted to pushing back the 2020 Academic Calendar to January 2021.
Addressing journalists at the KICD Headquarters in Nairobi, the minister said basic learning institutions will reopen in January 2021.
Prof. Magoha further said that the 2020 KCPE exams will be held “later in 2021”.
The minister, however, remained silent on the fate of KCSE exams, which are assumed will also be held in 2021.
Prof. Magoha directed the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) to republish new examination dates.
“Stakeholders have shelved the initial proposal to reopen basic learning institutions in September for Standard Eight and Form Four candidate classes,” said Magoha.
“If there will be two Form One classes in 2021 academic year, the country will experience very severe equity challenges, when only two basic institution classes (Class Eight and Form Four) reopen, while all the other children lose the year.
“Although the 2020 Form Four Class would have left, the total number of candidature in Form Four is 752, 000 as compared to approximately 1.2 million, which could mean if we had the intention of using the space left by Form Four students, we’ll be having a deficit of 438, 000. Therefore it will be impossible to achieve social distancing. We’ll also be unable to have physical classes for this huge number.
“All learners in Grade 1 to 4, Standard 5 to 7 and Form 1 to 3, will remain in their current classes in 2021. Therefore, there shall be no KCPE exams in later 2021 because it would be impossible for the students to cover the syllabus of 5 terms in one year,” said Magoha.
Campuses and Colleges
On July 30, 2020 Magoha announced that college and university students in campuses will have to stay longer at home after the Ministry of Education resolved to have face-to-face classes resume in January 2021, and not from September this year as had earlier been planned.
Magoha said the pushing back of the tertiary institutions’ academic calendar was arrived at after closely evaluating the COVID-19 infections pattern in Kenya.
“A survey of all Teacher Training Colleges, campuses and TVET institutions has shown that few of them have put in place necessary measures to comply with the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 protocols that can guarantee safety of staff and learners once they reopen,” he said.
“Universities should continue offering virtual learning, examinations and virtual graduations but in strict adherence and observance to quality measures set by the Commission for University Education.”