• Magoha tells MPs that it is time to open schools.
• Says the children are more safe in school than at home.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has told MPs that it is time to reopen all schools in the country.
Magoha on Tuesday told parliamentary committee that they are prioritizing students in class Eight and Form Four in the second phase of schools reopening to be announced soon.
The CS without giving express reopening dates, however, said it is time the country opens its schools citing examples of neighboring countries which have allowed their students back after the pandemic.
He cited the cases of Zambia and Angola which he noted have their children in school after emerging from the pandemic.
The Covid-19 situation, he noted, may not change in the near future.
“It is time to open and just like His Excellency said, we just need to know the how. I cannot give you a date but I assure you that the government of the Republic of Kenya is taking every measure into consideration. What we must ask ourselves is what is going to be different in January 2021?” Magoha posed.
“Allow me to tell you that right now the students are not in school and they are not at home.”
Magoha noted that the social distance will be a tall order but expressed confidence that with employment of other mitigation factors like facemasks and handwashing, the students can be kept safe in schools.
He said they will observe how the tertiary and university students are coping and will be forced to bite the bullet.
During the 12th address on the COVID-19 in the country at the Kenyatta International Convention Center on Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged focus on ‘how’ schools would reopen and not ‘when’.
He charged CS Education to come with modalities on how the students can be kept safe in schools before announcing reopening date.
“Learning institutions should only be reopened when we have and can sufficiently guarantee the safety of all our children. Let us not focus on when schools will reopen but on how they will reopen, ” Uhuru said.
“I call upon the Cabinet Secretary for Education, once we have agreed on the how, he will thereafter issue an academic calendar for the resumption of learning in 2020 or 2021, this will be dependent on what is decided.”
The CS was appearing before the National Assembly Education Committee to appraise them on measures for safe reopening of learning institutions.
The push to reopen schools also got backing from nominated MP Wilson Sossion who is also the Secretary General of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT).
"It is time to reopen schools and everything else will fall in place. We will be fools to continue keeping students at home," Sossion said.
The CS also clarified that only BOM teachers with TSC numbers were considered for the Sh10,000 send by the ministry to schools.
“There are teachers who do not have TSC No. They only put ID numbers. We will pay only those with TSC numbers,” Magoha said.
“When we get lists from bonafide head teachers, the first thing we look for is the TSC numbers. Going forward we shall only pay teachers with TSC numbers.”
Education PS Belio Kipsang told MPs that the ministry has disbursed payment for some 27,000 verified BoM teachers and those who were omitted will get their salaries soon.
“What we paid for BoM teachers was an intervention. Were were to use Sh700 per children and that amount was shared among the teachers. We paid as per number of teachers certified by Teachers Service Commission,” Belio said.