Community-based learning ill-advised

Students of Al-Haramain Secondary School during a lesson in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on June 1, 2020.

Photo credit: Ericky Boniphace | Afp

What you need to know:

  • The children have been at home for five months and have already come to terms with the fact that there is no school till New Year.

The “community-based learning (CBL) plan, through which the Ministry of Education has tasked teachers to teach students at the community level in a bid to keep them engaged, is a knee-jerk reaction and has come too late.

The children have been at home for five months and have already come to terms with the fact that there is no school till New Year.

They have adjusted their calendar, however much we wish to force them to engage in learning. If the government was serious, this should have come earlier.

But will the teachers and students be tested for the deadly virus before they interact to avoid infection? If not, will this not be a new coronavirus powder keg?

Here we have a ministry that comes up with contradictory policies day after day and state officers who keep making strange moves on the education sector. The government should be bold enough to either reopen learning institutions or let the academic year ‘die’ as they had decided.

Chibata Beda, Nakuru* * *The Covid-19 pandemic has become a huge threat globally, negatively affecting all sectors. In Kenya, it has paralysed education in private and public schools.

However, the planned community-based learning is a gift to many talented learners who might have lost space to showcase their gifts. Let the government make CBL a reality and the three concerned ministries – Education, Health and Interior – ensure that basic requirements are provided to ensure the safety of both learners and teachers.

Infrastructure, both educational and otherwise, is poor in most counties. Local learners can convene at stadiums or open fields, the best alternative venues for the activities, since this can help in social distancing as one measure of preventing exposure to Covid-19.

Proper communication and education is paramount to having parents release their children; equally, teachers should be enlightened prior to the programme to prevent confusion.

This being a public activity, some corrupt people with no interest in the outcome of the exercise are bound to take advantage of it to loot resources.

The suggested CBL activities – like weeding, grazing animals, debating, hygiene, cultivating and storytelling – are very good and educative since they are in line with the new competency-based curriculum (CBC) and will also help some learners gain skills by doing manual work like tending to flowerbeds and caring for kitchen gardens at home.

Lastly, the Health ministry should provide Covid-19 information and education materials and equipment to participants.

Oyato Vincent, registered clinical officer and managing director, Sheba Medical Centre Ltd, Nairobi