Raila urges govt not to rush decision to reopen schools

Opposition leaders Raila Odinga is urging the government not to rush the decision to reopen schools saying the move could be disastrous.

Raila said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has hugely hampered the operations in the country, disrupting learning and other sectors of the economy.

In an interview with one of the local radio stations Tuesday morning, Raila said the country should not rush to reopen schools at this time, saying the health of the children should be given the priority and that their upcoming final year examinations can be rescheduled.

The former prime minister also added that the ongoing e-learning programs should not be reflected in the national exams because some of the children cannot access them.

His comments come amid plans to reopen schools in June by the Ministry of Education.

Education CS George Magoha formed a task force led by Ms Sarah Ruto to receive views from the public regarding the reopening of schools.

All the learning institutions in the country were closed in March following the order given by President Uhuru Kenyatta to curb further spread of the virus.

Elsewhere, Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Bomet branch secretary Joseph Langat has said teachers are opposed to reopening of schools  because the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be controlled.

Mr. Langat said that to sanction school re-opening was dangerous for both teachers and learners when medical experts have declared   that infection rate numbers were increasing instead of decreasing.

He said children can only go to back to schools when the country has been declared Coronavirus free but not anytime soon when more Kenyans continue to contract the disease.

“Schools should not be used as experiments for reopening the economy that is why we strongly oppose and insist that churches and social places have not resumed its operations,”he said

Addressing the press in Bomet, Mr Langat stated that children should continue staying at home for as long as the pandemic continues to pose a threat to the lives of Kenyans.

“The government should involve teachers to ensure the planned resumption of learning will only start when teachers are well sensitised on how to handle learners in case one is suspected to suffer from Covid-19,”Mr Langat stated.

He pointed out that  the lives of children and teachers was  important saying there is no mistake in having the education programme set aside until the country is confirmed that we no longer have any cases of the disease.

“If the disease persists even for one year we have no otherwise but let our children continue staying at home,” he said.

Mr Langat added his voice to the programme of online learning saying the Ministry of Education had not included local teachers in the project hence rural learners are not benefitting from the same.

He said that the government should not apply double standards in the provision of teaching materials since learners from economically disadvantaged families will sit for the same national examinations with those of the well to do adding that the ministry should review the programme to reach the rural schools.

The KNUT official lamented that the target of the programme cannot be achieved since most pupils and students cannot access digital devices in their homes especially the rural ones.


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