Elderly teachers get greenlight to return to classrooms

Belio Kipsang

Education Principal Secretary Dr Belio Kipsang.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Tutors who are aged 58 years above are free to resume in-person teaching, Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said Wednesday.

Dr Kipsang however said that the teachers must observe Covid-19 protocols.

“In some regions, the elderly teachers have on their own volition reported back to their stations and are performing their duties along with their younger colleagues,” the PS said.

Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that State employees who are above 58 years be excluded from reporting to their stations because of their vulnerability to the coronavirus.

Dr Kipsang was speaking on Wednesday during a tour of Bomet County to check on delivery of desks and lockers by jua kali artisans who were contracted by the government under a stimulus program.

He stated that the government had paid Sh700 million to the suppliers of the furniture and another payment of Sh600 million will be processed after an audit and verification of the documents.

“Apart from far-flung counties where availability of materials for the jua kali operators has been a challenge, we expect the supply of the desks and lockers to have been completed by the weekend,” said Dr Kipsang at Mogogosiek trading centre in Konoin constituency.

The jua kali artisans were contracted to supply 622,357 lockers and desks to 5,136 public primary schools and 5,254 secondary schools under an economic stimulus program at a cost of Sh 1.9 billion.

The PS sad the 12,000 teachers who were recently recruited would soon be reporting to schools to alleviate teacher shortage which has been aggravated by the additional classes arising out of the COVID-19 containment measures.

So far, 94 per cent of primary school children have reported to school while 95 per cent have resumed learning in secondary institutions.

“Administrators have been directed to mop up learners who have not reported to schools in the country and ensure that they resume learning,” said Dr Kipsang who was accompanied by County Commissioner Susan Waweru, County Director of Education Mabale Indiatsi and County Director of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Charles Nyauma.

Most of the learners who have not reported to schools across the country are girls said to have fallen pregnant and made teenage mothers while others are suspected to have been married off for dowry.

The government has directed that pregnant girls be re-admitted to the learning institutions to continue with their studies, their state notwithstanding.

Dr Kipsang allayed fears among parents that there was congestion in schools especially in dormitories and classrooms in what was making it impossible for managers of the institutions for implementation of the set protocols on social distancing to curb spread of COVID-19 outbreak.

There is a general concern among stakeholders that re-opening of the learning institutions without adequate infrastructural facilities would make the schools COVID-19 super incubators and spreading centres.

“The government has continuously improved and expanded infrastructural facilities in schools to ensure 100 per cent transition rate from primary to secondary institutions and the program will continue. There should be no fear among parents on the state of the infrastructure in schools,” said Dr Kipsang.

In some institutions, the teachers have been forced to impart knowledge on learners under sheds which have been converted to makeshift classrooms due to the social distancing rule to curb spread of Covid-19 outbreak.

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