Plans to reopen schools before September have been met with opposition from education lobbyists in Kenya. The lobbyists have also asked the government to postpone exams until September 2021.
Coronavirus cases in Kenya have been on the rise with the country now recording 100s of cases per day. This has led to government instituting measures to curb the spread of the virus in the country, such as cessation of most affected regions, the closing of borders with her neighboring countries and closing down the schools.
These restrictions have had a huge impact on the education system, where students were sent back home without a concrete plan on how they will continue with their education. The migration to digital learning has also been slow, with the majority of the students being unable to access resources for virtual learning.
This has prompted the government to consider an earlier reopening of the education sector in the country. These calls, however, have been met with huge opposition from teachers unions across the country which cites the move to reopen the schools as inconsiderate and will end up leading to more coronavirus cases in the country.
Opposition from education lobbyist
Three lobbyist groups, Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) and Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) have now called the government to only consider reopening schools from September.
The lobbyist also urged the Kenyan government to postpone the national exams until September 2021. They argued that this would ensure that the coronavirus pandemic had been put under control, and students would be safe to return back to school and have enough time to recover the lost time.
Experts in the country have warned that coronavirus cases will peak in August. The report noted that telling teachers and students to return to schools before the peak of coronavirus cases in the country would be putting them at risk.
Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists & Doctors Union (KMPDU), Forum for African Women Educationalists and Elimu Tuitakayo Network also supported the calls by these lobbyists, arguing that the government has failed to satisfy measures put in place by UNESCO for reopening schools.
They cited the fact that the tests were low and mass testing had not yet been achieved. They also cited the lack of personal protection equipment in the country which would further put students and teachers at risk of contracting the virus.
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