Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on Friday received an interim report of the Education Covid-19 Response Committee at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, KICD. While receiving the report CS Magoha said reopening of schools will not be a switch-on-switch off affair; it will be cautious, methodical and based on data, evidence from the Ministry of Health.
Here is the full address by CS Magoha;
“INTERIM REPORT OF THE COVID-19 NATIONAL EDUCATION RESPONSE COMMITTEE
“On May 12th 2020, the Ministry of Education appointed the COVID-19 National Education Response Committee to advise the Cabinet Secretary on the most prudent steps to be
taken to ensure a return to normality in the basic education sector in the face of the Coronavirus crisis.
“Upon appointing the Committee, the team was advised to work with speed to submit an interim report to the Cabinet Secretary as part of the evidence upon which the Government will make further decisions regarding the extended school closure. The current one month extension to the school re-opening dates is set to end on June 4th 2020.
“The Committee has today presented the Interim Report to the Cabinet Secretary with various proposals on possible mitigation measures that, if put in place, will ensure the health and safety of learners in schools once they are re-opened. The Ministry will review the report before advising the country on the steps to be taken regarding the academic calendar, and the level of preparedness that will be required of all stakeholders involved in the running of ECD centres, primary and secondary schools, and teacher training institutions.
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“The Ministry wishes to note that the COVID-19 situation obtaining during the time when the Committee collected views from all stakeholders has sharply changed this week when the infection rates have hit three digit figures. Further, the Ministry of Health has projected that the rates of COVID-19 infections are likely to hit a peak in August September 2020. The Ministry takes these projections seriously, especially in view of the fact that more than 350 of our schools are currently designated as quarantine and isolation centres.
“The import of this is that Kenyans should be aware that painful but necessary decisions will be made based on data and evidence provided by the Ministry of Health from time to time. All stakeholders should, therefore, be prepared to face the reality of a likely extended closure of our schools given that the Government will never sacrifice the health of our children at the expense of an education that can wait to be offered at a later time when the safety and health of children can be guaranteed.
“Henceforth, the Ministry will focus on coming up with strong mitigation measures that will be required in schools once they reopen based on the recommendations of the Committee and those provided by the Ministry of Health. As such, the Ministry will desist from focusing on school reopening dates and instead give priority to putting in place solid mitigation measures for the sector ecosystem.
“The Ministry recognizes that the process of reopening schools will not be a switch-on switch-off affair, but rather a carefully thought out and methodical process that must guarantee the safety and health of all learners, teachers and staff.
The Ministry plans to table some of these proposals before the National Emergency Response Committee this weekend to ensure further consultations to inform the making of a decision regarding the current one month school extension of schools, which expires on June 4th, 2020. These consultations will also take into consideration the fact that the current Government restrictions announced by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta will expire on June 6th, 2020.
“Going forward, the Ministry wishes to urge parents, guardians and care givers to continue providing guidance to their children as they learn from home, including supervising their studies through the broadcast, online and digital learning currently being provided through the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development. Parental engagement is extremely fundamental to ensure all-round development of our children during this period more than ever before.
“The Ministry will update the country from time-to-time on the current situation regarding the education sector based on the advice of the Ministry of Health. In doing so, the Ministry wishes to categorically state that all decisions will be made while giving priority to the health and safety of learners, teachers and other school staff.”
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