MISSION ABORTED

Why universities, colleges cannot reopen in September

Education CS George Magoha says institutions failed to meet standards to warrant their reopening

In Summary

• The institutions could not meet the set guidelines to achieve social distancing and hygiene guidelines to stem spread of coronavirus.

• The final decision on the reopening of the TTCs will depend on the Health ministry guidelines. 

Education CSGeorge Magoha at Kakamega Primary School
TOUR: Education CSGeorge Magoha at Kakamega Primary School
Image: CALISTUS LUCHETU

Universities and colleges will not reopen in September as expected and will join the long wait to January with primary and secondary schools. 

Institutions of higher learning had been given a leeway to reopen on a case by case basis beginning September.

Technical colleges in June announced plans to commence in-class activities in September.

 

However, Education CS George Magoha argues that "teacher training colleges, universities and TVET institutions have not put in place necessary measures to comply with coronavirus protocols to guarantee safety of staff and learners once they reopen."

The final decision on the reopening of the TTCs will depend on the Health ministry guidelines, the CS said. 

Magoha spoke Thursday at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development during a meeting with education stakeholders.

"All TTCs, TVETs and universities will reopen for face-to-face sessions in January 2021. The institutions will, however, continue making arrangements for re-opening based on the provided guidelines and checklists," he said. 

Quarantine facilities

The Star has established that the government plan to use learning institutions for isolation and quarantine purposes could also have played a role in the extension of the shutdown.  

With a surge in the number of patients needing hospitalised care in the city, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe announced the government would explore alternative options to increase the bed capacity in Nairobi.  

 

Among the sought measures is to convert learning institutions to quarantine centres. 

This presumably because of the large spaces they can provide. Already, a number of colleges are being used for isolation purposes. 

Plans to convert the Kenya Technical Training College into an isolation facility are underway. 

Unpaid teachers

The CS said that the government has set aside funds to pay salaries to Board of Management teachers, security staff and settle utilities. 

Teachers will also offer service lessons to learners under an arrangement similar to the Nyumba Kumi framework, Education CS George Magoha has announced.

"The teachers will teach values to learners under the Nyumba Kumi framework. TSC to issue guidelines on the new plan that will come at no cost to parents," he said.

At the basic education level, the stakeholders observed that even though the ministry continues to provide remote learning through radio, television and online programmes, there are some children who are unable to access them. 

The Nyumba Kumi initiative was introduced by a presidential order gazetted in 2013, largely to anchor community policing at the household level, Nyumba Kumi aims at safe and sustainable neighbourhoods. 

During his 10th national address on the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, the president directed Magoha to call for a meeting with all education officials to discuss reopening dates. 

Uhuru said any government institution, including all sporting facilities, stadia and educational institutions, upon designation by the Health CS as a public health facility, shall be availed to the ministry for isolation and quarantine purpose.

Magoha had previously announced that schools will resume in January. 

Edited by R.Wamochie