By Samuel Ouma
As the cases of the Coronavirus in Kenya continue to rise, Education Ministry on Tuesday announced that pre-primary, primary and secondary schools will re-open in January 2021.
Addressing the press in Nairobi, Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof. George Magoha said the Ministry have taken the move following wide consultations with education stakeholders saying the pupils’ safety is a top priority.
Prof. Magoha also pushed forward this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) to next year. According to Magoha, all learners will repeat their classes. He noted 2020 academic calendar is lost.
“Stakeholders have shelved the initial proposal to reopen schools in September for Standard Eight and Form Four candidates,” he said.
However, the CS said the decision will be reviewed when daily Covid-19 cases reduce consistently for 14 days.
He added that colleges and technical and vocational education and training (Tvet) institutions will re-open in September subject to strict adherence to safety measures put in place to curb the spread of the novel virus.
“Universities will be allowed to re-open if they meet all the requirements set by MoH, and they must be inspected. Members of staff must agree on how they will do a phased reopening,” he said.
This comes hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced phased re-opening of the economy from a Covid-19 lockdown. Addressing the nation on Monday, June 6, the Head of the State lifted the cessation of movement in and out of Counties of Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera considered as the virus hotspots effective on Tuesday at 4am (local time).
President also permitted the gradual re-opening of places of worship but insisted that every service must last for one hour with only 100 worshippers per service. Congregants under the age of 13 years and above the age of 58 years and those with underlying conditions should not attend worship services, said Kenyatta.
Local air travel is set to resume on July 15 whereas international travel will begin on August 1.
“By reopening (the three counties), we must be cognisant of the fact that we are much more at risk when the restrictions were in place. We must exercise cautious optimism,” said the President.
Nevertheless, a ban on public gatherings in weddings, bars, political rallies was extended for 30 days as well as dusk to dawn curfew.