COVID-19: Bottlenecks as schools implement phased re-opening

Written By: Nicholas Kigondu

Learners in Grade 4, Class 8 and Form 4 resume physical learning

More learners reported back to school on Tuesday following the reopening of primary and secondary schools for Grade 4, class 8 and Form four learners amid safety concerns.

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In-person learning resumed on Monday across the country with learners facing extended learning schedules as teachers strive to recover lost time and regularize the national academic calendar that was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

A spot check however reveal that a section of private schools are yet to resume learning as they struggle to comply with strict protocols issued by the ministry of health and meant to contain the spread of the virus.

The suspension of learning saw private schools hit hard by economic meltdown witnessing closure of some schools that depended on school fees for survival.

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At the Narok County Academy, the management was Tuesday busy putting its house in order as it prepares to usher in learners on Wednesday.  School’s director Elizabeth Ntutu says they have already put in place elaborate measures in line with directives issued by the government.

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Narok County Academy Director Elizabeth Ntutu says the school has complied with all directives issued by the ministry of health

Narok county Director of Education Philip Wambua says 95 percent of class eight and form four candidates in Narok County have reported back to school. Most of those yet to report back to school said to be pregnant girls who fell pregnant during the long holiday occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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At the Thika School for the Blind in Kiambu County, only 11 pupils have so far reported, a situation blamed on financial constraints.

According to the school’s head Margaret Njuguna, parents at the school   have suffered harsh economic Covid-19 shock waves and had only started to heal when the Ministry of Education announced resumption of learning.

In announcing the phased re-opening of schools, education cabinet secretary George Magoha issued an 11-week school calendar for the learners for their second and third terms that will see learners break for just a week during the December holiday.

The learners will break for the end of their second terms on 24 December and resume learning on 4 January to kick off the third term. And in a departure from the past, the revised school calendar has not made provision for mid-term.

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Magoha opted for a phased reopening, giving priority to the pioneer Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) class, he Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam candidates, who will now sit their tests in March and April next year.

The decision to reopen schools in phases followed advise from the education task-force committee on Covid-19 with the education ministry saying it will monitor the situation before making a decision on when learning for the rest of the learners in primary and secondary schools will resume.



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