Education PS Belio Kipsang
Education PS Dr. Belio Kipsang

Emabakasi East Member of parliament, Hon. Babu Owino, has come under fire for ‘teaching’ with qualifications. The Law maker who has already run a mathematics lesson for KCSE students on his Facebook account has been warned that whatever he is doing is illegal.

The warning shot was issued by the education Principal Secretary Dr. Belio Kipsang when he met with the Departmental Committee on Education on Thursday morning.

“Anybody who is offering to teach students without being qualified is undertaking an illegality, and so is anyone circulating e-learning information that is not approved by KICD..All the content of learning delivered to students must be Approved by the KICD, whether for online learning or physical learning. And every teacher must be Qualified,” said Dr. Kipsang.

The flamboyant politician is offering more lessons in coming weeks.

One of Babu Owino's online lessons advertisement.
One of Babu Owino’s online lessons advertisement.

The Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha was however in support of schools and teachers charging parents for online services rendered.

“When it comes to charging of Online lessons offered by teachers, let them engage the parents and agree on favorable terms. I think there is nothing wrong with charging for services delivered,” the CS explained.

Brookhouse international school has been on the limelight for forcing parents to pay full fees even when much of the physical learning time has been lost due to the current closure of learning institutions to prevent further spread of Covid-19 disease.

E-learning is very new to me and you; but very necessary now.

The CS noted that the current E-learning is very new to him just like it is to everybody else but he was quick to point out that it can not be used to replace physical teaching.

“E-learning is just as new to me as it is to all of you. The gov’t has been very clear that when schools re-open, we will take it from where we left,” said the CS.

An assurance that was further emphasized by PS Kipsang.

“We can assure you that nothing we are doing now will replace the inter-personal relationships of learners and teachers, and when physical learning resumes, every child will still have an equal opportunity… We are trying to mitigate the impacts of this pandemic, and to deal with the new normal that we find ourselves in. We already have an emergency plan set up to improve the coping mechanisms.” reassured the PS.

“We are trying to mitigate the impacts of this pandemic, and to deal with the new normal that we find ourselves in. We already have an Emergency plan set up to improve the coping mechanisms,” he added.

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Magoha defended the online teaching saying it was the only feasible option if going by the current crisis created by the covid-19 pandemic is anything to go by. He turned down a request by Nyamira County Women Representative who wanted to know if it is possible for the government to stop all these Online learning programmes so that all our children are equal when they resume physical learning.

“We do not advocate for teacher-learner contact even from home, since we do not what to put anyone at risk of infecting the other with COVID-19…The government at this time, will not consider stopping e-learning. Our children who are able to access the virtual learning will continue to get, despite others not being able to.

Dr. Kipsang on his part noted that the current e-learning system has its own shortcomings, though.

“This pandemic came at a time that we may have not prepared for all eventualities, that is why some of our Special Needs children might not have sufficient E-learning materials,” the PS explained.

Committee chair, Hon Melly, was concerned about ‘a majority of the Kenyan children who are not getting these online learning materials, and they are the majority.

The International Commission of Jurists, ICJ, has urged the government to provide learners with electronic gadgets and internet services.

But CS Magoha thinks otherwise.

“If you go to any secondary school, you will be shocked. It is only that we do not allow them. If we allowed them to carry phones to school, you will realise that all the secondary school students have smart phones,” stated Magoha.

On the safety of learners and teachers once learning resumes, the CS said an elaborate plan is in place.

“We will be following the Outlined COVID-19 guidelines when schools resume. And there will be a whole budget line to cater for this,” reported the CS.

It remains to be seen the plans that the Ministry has come up with ahead of the announced reopening date in June. On his part, the CS was quick to rule out any hasty decision in reopening the schools any time soon.

“It is too early to give any specific dates. In the meantime, the calendar for the national exams remains. If the situation changes, we will reopen schools… Our children are alive and safe at home. It is not only in Kenya where this pandemic is happening. If it means they will be staying at home for one year, then so be it. Don’t create a metal pipe and force me into it asking me to give you dates,” Magoha outlined.