Govt closes all schools over teachers' strike

Students from Central Secondary School in Eldoret town head home on September 18, 2015 after the government directed that all public and private schools be closed. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

With little or no learning going on in public schools across the country as a result of the teacher's strike, the government has ordered that all public and private schools be closed starting Monday.

However, candidates waiting to sit their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations will remain in school, the Education ministry said on Friday.

In a circular sent to education officials, Education Secretary Leah Rotich said the ministry had revised the school term dates for private and public schools.

The circular said that Standard One to Standard Seven pupils and Form One to Form Three students would go home, as there was no learning going on since the start of the strike.

“The revision of the time dates for primary and secondary schools has been necessitated by the fact that very little or no learning has been going in most of these institutions in the last three weeks with the exception of the examination classes,” said Ms Rotich.

The Education secretary has asked the teachers to continue assisting the 2015 examination candidates.

“It is expected that TSC teachers who are in school and BOM teachers will continue to teach and prepare KCPE and KCSE candidates, (and) those already engaged in Knec examination management will also be expected to perform their duties as per the Knec Act 2012,” said Ms Rotich.

FEES REFUNDS

The education boss, however, did not say whether school fees parents have already paid to private schools for the third term would be refunded.

Last year, when schools lost three weeks due to a strike, Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang asked parents to work with their specific schools to have the money refunded or be forwarded to the next term.

On Friday, the Kenya National Examinations Council launched this year's national examination and gave the dates and the numbers of those scheduled to sit the tests.

Kenya National Examinations Council Secretary Joseph Kivilu said they have registered 937,467 KCPE and 525,802 KCSE candidates.

He added that the KCPE examination would commence on November 10 and end on November 12, whereas KCSE theory papers would start on October 12.

Because of the strike, some schools had started sending students home as some had become unruly.

The Education secretary said that learners being left idle under the care of a small number of teachers had resulted in tension building up among them.

“Some of the incidences of insecurity in schools had been reported by the heads of institutions and field officers during the said period,” said Ms Rotich.

He added that the Ministry of Education needed to safeguard the security of learners and staff and school property.

CABINET STAND

Later in the day, the Cabinet directed school management boards to cary forward fees to new term dates.
The Cabinet also said that the Kenya National Examinations Council continue with preparation of the 2015 KCPE and KCSE exams as scheduled.
In a statement send to newsrooms, the ministry of education was told to ‘revise the term dates for all primary and secondary schools under its jurisdiction, and to communicate new dates in due course.’
However the statement said technical training institutes, primary and diploma teacher-training colleges are not affected by this directive.
Cabinet is committed to a speedy resolution of this matter and urges all relevant constitutional bodies to demonstrate the same commitment to allow our children to go back to school.
“The matter of teachers’ salaries and remuneration has been outstanding for nearly twenty years, resulting in a teachers’ strike almost every year. This matter cannot continue to disrupt the education of our children. Hard decisions must be made to bring it to an end, once and for all,” said the statement.

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