Mudavadi accuses Magoha of poor leadership on Covid-19

The Ministry of Education has only made 'random and ad hoc pronouncements'

In Summary

• The CS has left the country 'confused and in limbo' after extending school closure.

• Education is the mother of all sectors and must demonstrate order, ANC leader says.

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi
ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi has accused Education CS George Magoha of failing to provide leadership in the sector in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This comes after the CS extended the closure of schools by a month.

Mudavadi criticised Magoha for sending “speculative messages” on learning as the future of some 1.2 million KCPE and 700,000 KCSE candidates hangs in the balance.

“So far, the Ministry of Education has only made random and ad hoc pronouncements,” he said in a statement.

"These casual and abrupt statements have mostly been given on the sidelines of Ministry of Health briefings on Covid-19."

Mudavadi said the statements by the CS have only left the country confused and in limbo.

He said education is the mother of all the other sectors and must demonstrate the highest levels of planning and informed action and set the bar for other ministries.

“We must avoid the habit of decrees and lone ranger approaches that the Ministry of Education is used to,” he said.

The ANC party leader said Magoha needs to constitute a team comprising officials from the Ministry of Education, the Teachers Service Commission, teachers’ unions and the Kenya National Examination Council.

They will also need to work with high-level representation from the Ministry of Health and Treasury, he said.

On April 26, Magoha announced a one-month extension to the nationwide closure of schools and learning institutions.

The CS sought to make it clear to students, parents and the general public that the earliest schools could open is on June 5.

He spoke at the daily government briefing on Covid-19, where he further reiterated that the government had not yet considered postponing the KCPE and KCSE examinations.

Mudavadi further said Kenyans do not know of any packages of measures the ministry has made for parents, teachers and learners to facilitate, equalise and monitor home learning.

“We have heard government officials say that learning is going on online. They have also said national examinations will go on as was scheduled at the start of the year,” he said.

He pointed out that not every learner has access to radio or television and the Internet. “Even those who can physically access these facilities are challenged with the cost of activating them,” he said.

Mudavadi said syllabuses have not been covered and may not be covered. “Our exam-based education is about syllabuses. We cannot change direction in the midstream to pretend that all is well when we know that exam syllabuses will not be covered,” he said.

He further pointed out that some schools, colleges and universities have been earmarked as isolation centres for Covid-19.

“Going forward, teachers, learners, parents and other stakeholders must be assisted to return to those places after they have reverted to their usual identity as normal learning centres,” he said.

"There is a need for a clear strategic approach to counselling and removal of stigma, ahead of reopening of these places as institutions of learning."

Mudavadi further called for the institutions to be fumigated and confirmed to be safe and Covid-19 free. "We cannot just arbitrarily assume a return to normalcy in these places,” he said.

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