NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – Kenyans may have to wait longer for resumption of onsite learning across the country with the education ministry remaining noncommittal on the possibility of reopening schools which have remained shut since mid-March following the confirmation of COVID-19 in the country.
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha on Friday said the ministry will be guided by advised issued by the health ministry under the National Emergency Response Committee on COVID-19.
Speaking at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development when he received a report from the Education Response Committee on COVID-19, a nine-member team established to advise the government on the modalities of re-opening schools, Prof Magoha said the government will prioritize the welfare of students and staff working in the institutions of learning.
“Instead of thinking so much about the exams and learning, teach the child what you know, like say how to milk a cow,” the CS said while indicating the ministry could review the education and national examinations calendar if so required.
“If we are not going to manage the way we want, then we must be prepared to have our children and wait for the right time.”
He said the report he received from the Education Response Committee on COVID-19 will be formally released on June 4 when a one-month holiday extension will lapse.
“The ministry recognizes that the process of reopening schools will not be a switch on switch off affair, but rather a carefully thought out and methodical process that must guarantee the safety and health of all learners, teachers and staff,” he said.
The recommendations captured in the interim report will be tabled in the National Emergency Response Committee on COVID-19 for further consultations.
Prof Magoha emphasized that, “painful but necessary decisions will be made on the basis of data and evidence provided by the Ministry of Health from time to time.”
“All stakeholders should therefore be prepared to face the reality of a likely extended closure of our schools, given that out government will never sacrifice the health of our children at the expense of an education that can wait to be offered at a later time when the safety and health of children can be guaranteed,” he said.