NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – The nine-member Education Response Committee on COVID-19 established to advise the government on the modalities of re-opening schools was set to present its report Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha on Friday.
The committee which was set up earlier this month has received close to 3, 000 memorandum from various stakeholders.
The committee chaired by Dr Sarah Ruto, who is the Chairperson Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD) with other members being drawn from the expansive sector, was mandated to advise Prof Magoha on the reorganization of the school calendar as part of the post-COVID-19 education recovery strategy.
Prof Magoha ordered the closure of schools in mid-March after the confirmation of COVID-19 cases in the country.
The committee was required to, “identify institutions that may have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and advise on mitigation and recovery measures.”
Opinion is divided on whether schools should be re-opened this year amid the coronavirus situation, with the country’s leading tutors’ unions Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) urging the government to re-open the learning institutions at least by September.
The two unions also want this year’s national exams for both primary and secondary schools due in November postponed to April 2021.
The two unions in joint press briefing on Wednesday said: “Reopening of schools, colleges and universities must be transparent, phased and coupled with clear communication by government and public universities, colleges and schools, with the input of public health professionals, front-line healthcare professionals, educators, academic staff and the unions.”
Parents through the Parent Association body chaired by Nicholas Maiyo have also voiced their concern on the viability of having schools re-opened before the coronavirus situation in the country is contained.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has however, proposed for the partial re-opening of schools by June 15. The union wants candidates and final year students in colleges and universities to be given priority.