During his July 26, 2020 address to the Nation on the status of the COVID 19 pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Education, in consultation with all stakeholders, to inform public on the status of the education in the country.
It’s on this backdrop, the Ministry of Education officials met Thursday with all stakeholders to deliberate on the current preparedness for phased reopening of Teacher Training Colleges, TVET and Universities as earlier intended starting from September 1st, 2020.
The current situation regarding the COVID-19 situation has kept worsening, with an average number of new positive cases daily averaging 600 in the last one week. As of late Wednesday, the number of reported positive cases stood at 19,125, some of them affecting staff of universities and colleges.
The University of Nairobi has already lost four members of staff as a result of COVID-19. With the situation not getting any better by the day, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha has directed all TTCs, TVETs and Universities will reopen for face-to-face sessions in January 2021 while stating institutions will continue making arrangements for re-opening based on the provided guidelines and checklists. However, authorization to re-open for face to face teaching, learning and research, will be based on further guidance from Ministry of Health based on the dynamics of preparedness.
Professor Magoha has asked universities to continue offering virtual learning, examinations and virtual graduations but in strict adherence observance to quality measures set by the Commission for University Education’s the University Standards and Guidelines. In this regard, the ministry has stated priority be given to final year students to ensure they can graduate. So far, Dedan Kimathi University and Riara University have held virtual graduations. Egerton University is also set to hold a virtual graduation on 31st July, 2020 while the University of Nairobi is set to hold a virtual graduation on 25th September, 2020.
The Ministry is looking into ways of supporting continued on-line learning for University students by supporting HELB to facilitate them for the acquisition of on-line learning facilities and resources.At the Basic Education, the stakeholders observed that, although the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development continues to provide remote learning through radio, television and online programmes, there are some children who are unable to access these programmes. The Ministry of Education and TSC, using a multi-agency approach, and in collaboration with chiefs on the Nyumba Kumi initiative, will implement a community-basedlearning approach where teachers will be mapped with learners to offer learning at no cost.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is set to provide guidelines on the implementation of the programme. The good news is, the National Government has set aside sufficient funds to pay the Board of Management teachers, non- teaching staff including security men and women to ensure proper maintenance and safety in schools.