• CS Magoha, in what seemed to be supporting Knut’s stand, said, “A child who is alive and at home is better than that who tried to do an exam and died,”.
• The CS said with current reports from the Ministry of Health, it is clear that the number of virus cases continue to rise to alarming levels and the government won’t take the risk to send children to school.
The government has maintained it will not gamble with lives of learners by reopening schools in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Education CS George Magoha on Friday maintained schoolgoing children will remain at home until the government gives clear guidelines on when to resume.
Magoha spoke at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, where he received a report from a special task force on Covid-19.
The report indicates that schools should reopen in September as any other earlier dates might put the lives of learners in danger.
The Covid 19 pandemic has disrupted learning for 18 million learners in the country.
According to the report, health experts have projected that August is the peak month for the coronavirus disease and if schools were to resume, learners would be caught up in a wave of new infections.
This comes even as the teachers’ union asked the government to postpone the KCSE and KCPE exams to early next year.
Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion, who doubles as a nominated MP, said the government should not be in a hurry to reopen learning institutions but focus on flattening the curve.
Sossion said the process of reopening should be a negotiated process and not dictated.
CS Magoha, in what seemed to be supporting Knut’s stand, said, “A child who is alive and at home is better than that who tried to do an exam and died,”.
The CS said with current reports from the Ministry of Health, it is clear that the number of virus cases continue to rise to alarming levels and the government won’t take the risk to send children to school.
“You have seen the latest numbers; which parent would want to take their child to school at this moment?,” he paused.
Magoha said all decisions to reopen schools will give priority to health and safety of learners, teachers and support staff.“We cannot gamble with lives of learners, wait for the right time. I have said even if it means waiting till early in the next year to start all over, so be it,” he said.
While hitting out at those calling for reopening, Magoha said, “How many learners do you want to die for us to come to terms with reality; how are we going to select those to die first.”
He said the ministry is working out a system that is practical and free of politics to look at all scenarios and possible dates of reopening.
He dismissed claims that private schools are already taking learners in second term activities through online platforms.
"All schools have closed and online learning does not mean that the calendar is in its second term,” he said.
Magoha said there are, however, concerns of the fate of private schools if the pandemic will prolong the closure period.
"We are aware of the fact that private schools employ over 150,000 teachers and over 300,000 support staff, but we urge respective managements to engage with parents on the way forward as cautionary measures to sustain them,” he said.
He added, “When these schools collapse, all the children will be taken to public schools and we can have a situation that is difficult to handle.”