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Public has until 5pm give views on school reopening date

DAVID MUCHUNGUHBy DAVID MUCHUNGUH
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OUMA WANZALABy OUMA WANZALA
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Kenyans have until five o’clock today to give their views to the National Covid-19 Education Response Committee that will advise Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on whether schools should reopen on June 4 or the date be postponed.

Prof Magoha is expected to brief the Senate next week on the progress of e-learning amid concerns that it might take time to resume face-to-face learning because of the pandemic.

This comes as a task force on the reopening of schools chaired by Ms Sarah Ruto continued to receive views from education stakeholders on when traditional learning should resume in school.

Nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka Makori on Tuesday petitioned the Senate to have Prof Magoha explain the measures he intends to take to ensure any imbalances in access to educational materials are tackled so that students who cannot access online classes are brought up to par.

Prof Magoha is also expected to clarify whether parents/guardians will be expected to pay full school fees for second term given that the fees for first term were not fully used after schools were prematurely closed.

He is also expected to shed light on the efficiency of e-learning with regard to students’ concentration and understanding of the subjects.

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Ms Makori made the request to the Senate’s Committee on Education amid reports that some private schools were compelling parents to pay full fees or their children would be expelled for delayed payment of fees.

On Thursday, Dr Ruto said she would issue a statement after today’s deadline.

KNUT CONCERNED

National Parents Association Chairman Nicholas Maiyo said the group is still collecting views from parents and will submit its response on Friday.

The 10-member team appointed by Prof Magoha on Tuesday will also explore ways of restoring normality in the school calendar.

Meanwhile, Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said they would collect views from stakeholders independently after the Education ministry failed to include them in the task force.

Prof Magoha’s decision to exclude teachers’ unions from the committee has rubbed teachers the wrong way, although he has incorporated the leaders of school heads associations.

“The voice and views of teachers will be missing in any decisions made and may not bind our membership,” Mr Sossion said in a letter to the minister.

The Kenyan situation and experiences from other parts of the world will influence the decision on whether to reopen schools.

A key pointer in this direction will be the outcome of the review of restrictions on movement and the night-time curfew, which is expected to be announced this weekend.