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School closure extended by a month in virus war

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DAVID MUCHUNGUH

By DAVID MUCHUNGUH
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FAITH NYAMAI

By FAITH NYAMAI
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Schools will not open for second term on Monday next week as the government outlined more stringent measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The more than 15 million learners will stay at home for another month as the government assesses the situation before giving the way forward.

“In the interest of the safety and lives of our children, the government has decided to extend school closure for one month effective from the date of opening,” Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha announced Sunday.

On Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the cessation of movement into and out of counties with high incidences of Covid-19 by a further 21 days.

Prof Magoha, however, said that schools will likely open in June and that the national examinations are on schedule.

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“During the intervening period, there will be many interventions that will depend on how the government is able to control this disease. I want to emphasise that whenever the examination is going to be administered, every Kenyan child will have been given the opportunity to cover whatever time that is lost before the said examination is administered.”

There has been concern about the fate of the examinations following the disruption to the school calendar which has seen candidates lose valuable contact time with their teachers.

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has stepped in to offer radio and TV lessons while also providing more learning materials on the Kenya Education Cloud.

Some private schools have also organised online classes for their learners and many of them have announced that the virtual schools will open next week.

Schools were closed mid-March and the examinations are slated for November.

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Prof Magoha said the extension of the schools closure is meant to allow the country heal from the spread of Covid 19 disease.

“Due to the Corona Virus Pandemic that we are experiencing in our country, closure of schools will be extended by one month,” said Prof Magoha

The CS, however, said the government has not postponed national examinations which are scheduled for October and November.

The schools were closed by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month after the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country.

The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination is to start on November 2 and end on November 3, while the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) is to start on November and ends on November 30 should the Kenya National Examination Council decide not to postpone the exams.

Currently schools are engaging their learning through e-Learning while the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development is offering lessons through TV, Radio and online.

Parents have been complaining that the e-learning programmes offered by schools are ineffective.

On Sunday, a parent from Riara School complained that the school wants to start charging fees for e-learning.

Already several private schools and international schools are offering the e-learning programmes at a fee.

Teachers unions had asked the government to ensure schools are safe for students and are well prepared to combat the spread of Covid-19 before a decision is made to re-open them.

Both Kenya Union of post Primary Teachers and the Kenya National of Union of teachers say mitigation and safety measures must be adhered to.





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