students half term

Students going home for midterm break walk along Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi on June 2, 2021.


| Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group.

Mid-term unnecessary, parents say as school heads defend Education ministry

What you need to know:

  • Parents expressed concerns on the cost and inconvenience the break is likely to occasion, considering that schools will close again for one week on July 16.

Schools began their mid-term break on Thursday, with many parents complaining it came too soon after learners reopened for a term expected to take only 10 weeks.

The parents expressed concerns on the cost and inconvenience the break is likely to occasion, considering that schools will close again for one week on July 16.

Travel costs for learners in boarding schools and pocket money upon their return a week from now are part of the financial burden parents will have to bear, even as they prepare to pay fees for the first term of year 2021, which is scheduled to start in the last week of July.

They also expressed fears of Covid-19 infections as learners crisscross the country to their homes and later back to school.

Some schools started releasing students as early as Tuesday, which was a public holiday, although the break was officially scheduled to fall between June 3 and June 7, 2021.

“These are dangerous times and steps must be taken to protect children from this disease,” Ms Lucy Mukosia, whose daughter is in a boarding primary school, said.

The Ministry of Education introduced mid-term breaks following a recommendation by a task force appointed to investigate rising cases of juvenile delinquency in schools.

“I’m making arrangements with the school to have my son remain there,” Mr James Mutinda said.

Mr Mutinda added that learners need to make up for the time lost last year during the break occasioned by the coronavirus crisis.

Psychological health

National Parents’ Association Chairman Nicholas Maiyo acknowledged receiving complaints from parents on the mid-term break.

“We represented parents in the education task force, which came up with the revised calendar and the education experts found the mid-term break necessary for learners,” said Mr Maiyo.

However, school heads on Thursday defended the break, saying it is necessary for the psychological health of both learners and teachers.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairperson Kahi Indimuli said schools have been engaging learners in a crash programme to complete the 2020 syllabus, which if not well managed may raise stress levels among students.

“When we skipped the break in the second term, cases of school fires increased and everyone blamed schools for not giving the children a break,” said Mr Indimuli, adding that lack of a break has in the past proved to be dangerous for students.

Mr Indimuli said some school heads had made travelling home for the break optional.

“At Machakos School, we have made it optional and allowed students who come from the neighbourhood to go home and those from far who want to remain in school to stay,” he said.

Mr Indimuli said his engagement with school principals, especially those running boarding schools, had revealed that students wanted to take a break.

Kenya Primary School Heads Association Chairman Johnstone Nzioka said the break should not be a cause of alarm for parents.

“Children will only take a 10-day break in July before they resume for the first term of 2021 and, therefore, they need the break,” said Mr Nzioka.

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Secretary-General Akelo Misori also defended the break.

“When learners go without a break, it weighs heavily on them and they may reach breaking point. The teachers too need time off work to enable them to teach effectively,” said Mr Misori.

Mr Sossion said the mid-term break will ensure the learners are mentally healthy.

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