EDUCATION

Magoha should allow Grade 4 learners to resume classes

Leaving these young children below the age of 12 alone at home is dangerous

In Summary

• Education CS Prof George Magoha ruled out the possibility of having the pupils from private schools engaged in any form of learning.

• This disagreement between the CS and the private schools is not healthy for the education of children in Kenya.

Education CS George Magoha
Education CS George Magoha
Image: JACK OWUOR

Learners in pre=primary, grades 1-3, pupils in Standard 5-7 and those Form 1-3 are reporting back to school for the third term.

The third term will run from May 10 to July 16. The Grade Four learners completed their Third Term in March and will join Grade Five in July 26. The students are resuming after a seven-week break to a unique crash academic programme amid tight health measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Third term is usually the shortest in the school calendar and will last only two months as teachers race to complete the 2020 syllabus. Some 1,392,385 Grade 4 learners — 347,636 in 14,086 private schools and 1,044,749 in 23,157 public schools — will not be report back to schools despite efforts by several private school owners to initiate various extra-curriculum programmes to accommodate the learners during the two months they are required to be home.

Education CS Prof George Magoha ruled out the possibility of having the pupils from private schools engaged in any form of learning. He said before the school calendar was revised, the ministry engaged all stakeholders, including those from private schools.

This disagreement between the CS and the private schools is not healthy for the education of children in Kenya. There should be another meeting to iron out the differences. Leaving these young children below the age of 12 alone at home is  dangerous because of several issues. Some parents are usually very happy when children are in school and they don't need to employ people to look after their children at home. Homes have become dangerous as there are constant fires, abductions and injuries. Also, when left unattended, the children may engage in the wrong activities.

The best remedy is to allow these children to go to school. There are many things they can do in school. There are life skills the child can learn and also engage in sports or continue with revision, which will keep him/her busy. An idle mind is a devil’s workshop. The CS should allow these children to join others in school.

Veronica Onjoro is a  PhD student Mt Kenya University [email protected]