Long third term holiday doing more harm than good

Working parents have to pay someone to watch their children

In Summary

• Children are prone to be recruited by criminal gangs, be addicted to drugs and their phones. 

• When they resume school in January, they have a hard time getting back into a learning mindset after being idle for that long. 

Students at one of Kenya's secondary schools
ADAPT PREVIOUS CALENDAR: Students at one of Kenya's secondary schools
Image: FILE

This long November and December holiday poses a big challenge to parents, teachers and the community. 

Parents are struggling to come up with innovative ways to keep their children positively engaged during this time. Most parents have not employed caregivers in the home as children spend most of the time in school especially if they are in boarding schools.

Therefore, this holiday becomes very expensive for parents as they are forced to dig deeper into their pockets to maintain their children and employ workers to take care of them while they are at work.

Some children stay at home unsupervised leaving some working parents concerned that they may be recruited into crime, engage in sex and drugs. Girls are the most vulnerable as it has come out during last year’s KCPE which a good number of girls sat in hospitals after delivering babies.

Many counties have decried early pregnancies of schoolchildren and the problem comes because of idleness during this long holiday. Parents also fear they will get financially overwhelmed by the youngsters’ needs. The new school terms were introduced in May by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

Therefore, the government should listen to the cries of parents and return the previous school calendar with the holiday only in December. Teachers also have noted that upon resumption of the term in January, learners have a hard time getting back into a learning environment after being away from studies for a long time.

Others carry their bad habits with them to school and influence their counterparts. The third term has very few learning weeks but still,  parents pay the same amount of money as other terms, which does not make sense.