Education CS George Magoha asked parents to brace themselves for changes within the Education sector which may see an increase in school fees upon resumption of studies in January 2021.
This was after the CS created a raft of proposals that will see parents and the government incur extra costs owing to Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
"Life won't be normal again. We will have to ensure we maintain social-distancing at all costs. Maybe even until we receive a vaccine. Parents, teachers and students should expect drastic changes," Magoha stated on Thursday, July 23.
The proposals are stipulated within a document dubbed Guidelines on Health and Safety Protocols for Reopening of Basic Education Institutions Amid Covid-19 Pandemic. Among them include the closure of a number of schools as the government sets eyes on day schooling rather than boarding schools.
A teacher and students inside a classroom at Kawangware Primary School, Nairobi, on October 5, 2015.
Magoha argued that boarding schools should be considered for students who travel from far. This means that parents should be prepared to transfer students to nearby schools as a stand-by solution.
It also asks schools to provide handwashing facilities, face masks, thermo-guns, disinfectants and to build more bathrooms and toilets. Schools will also limit toilets to 25 girls per door and 30 boys per urinal. All classrooms and lecture halls will also be provided with water.
Social distance was one of the issues Magoha stated forced him to postpone schools reopening to 2021. He lamented that it would be hard to space out students. However, the CS proposed to have makeshift tents where teachers can teleconference through video applications to ease congestions.
Principals will also have to provide personal protective equipment (PPEs) to all non-teaching staff with food handling certificates issued to those in the kitchen.
Schools will also be required to provide a map which shows that an emergency health centre is located nearby to facilitate check-ups in coordination with the Health Ministry.
It will also be considered an offence for students if found sharing personal items such as brushes, beds, textbooks, slippers and attire. Schools will be subject to mandatory inspection by the Ministry of Health and Education officials.
"Parents, government and schools will be required to dig deeper into their pockets. All the proposals will cost billions but we have to sacrifice for the sake of our children," Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (KUPPET) Secretary-General Akello Misori stated in an interview with People Daily.
Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Wilson Sossion asked the government to bear most of the responsibility as parents were already overstretched.
"Despite the safety of our students and teachers being a priority, we should also consider our parents who are overburdened. The government should shoulder some burden and not pass them all to parents," Sossion urged.
File image of KNUT Secretary-General Wilson Sossion (centre)