What you need to know:
- The University of Nairobi will not be in a hurry to ask all students to report back as they consider their online programme effective.
- Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina said that in-person learning will resume in phases.
- Final-year students in Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing reported on September 14.
Following the announcement by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha that universities can now reopen for in-person teaching in phases, different universities have announced varied plans to students and staff.
The University of Nairobi will not be in a hurry to ask all students to report back as they consider their online programme effective.
“We already graduated our final-year students (virtually) a week ago and the others are learning well. We migrated everyone to the online platform immediately and even admitted First Years online,” the vice-chancellor, Prof Stephen Kiama, told Higher Education.
He said that teaching staff at the university who are over 58 years old might be allowed to continue teaching virtually to minimise physical contact with students. Also to be reviewed is the university’s accommodation in the hostels so as to observe social distancing.
However, medical students and others who need to carryout practical lessons will be informed about plans to report back to their respective campuses.
Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina said that in-person learning will resume in phases. Final-year students in Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing reported on September 14.
“When the university closed due to the pandemic in March, most of the programmes had only two weeks left to complete the second semester calendar. The university intends to resume for face-to-face examinations,” he said.
Thereafter, the university will roll out a phased reopening plan, which will see Fourth Year students report on October 16, for three weeks and then followed by Second Year and Third Year students. A blended mode of study will see students learn online for half of the semester and attend face-to-face lessons the other half. They will be required to report with at least two reusable face masks which must be worn at all times.
On the financial preparedness of the institution to receive back students, Prof Wainaina said the university “will do its best with the resources it has under the circumstances.”
“Our capacity for students is about 60,000, which implies that half of them will learn online with the other half being taught face-to-face. This will be alternated to ensure that we comply with Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols on such issues such as social distancing,” the VC said.
Many public universities have been flagged by the Auditor General as struggling financially with some just falling short of being declared insolvent.
Universities in Mombasa will go for phased reopening after being closed for six months. At the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM), the vice-chancellor, Prof Laila Abubakar, has announced the anticipated resumption of studies in order to complete the second semester of the 2019/2020 academic year.
In a memo, the VC said the university will reopen this week.
“Following deliberations in a special senate board meeting, it was resolved that the university will reopen on October 5, for the Final Year students to complete their second semester and write their exams,” she said.
The university has further directed that its postgraduate, undergraduate, diploma and certificate students resume in a schedule according to their schools, where the university is expected to offer accommodation at a cost.
“To aid in containing the spread of Covid-19, accommodation is available at the TUM hostels at a cost of Sh600 for the week in session,” said Prof Abubakar.
This month, the final year students will be required to sit their examinations. Afterwards, continuing students will be called back as First Year students await the communication of their official opening date. The university has also directed students to clear all their fees before reopening.
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has also released a schedule for resumption of studies, with final-year students at diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels, resuming today.
The same will happen at Meru University, with the final-year students reporting today. They will be given the examination timetable on the same day. The examinations will run from October 15 to 28.
The acting registrar (Academic & Student Affairs), Dr Stephen Karanja, said communication to first, second and third year students will be shared in due course.
Maasai Mara University has a schedule for Fourth Year students which runs from October 5 to 16. Moi University senate has approved the resumption of teaching and learning activities on October 5, for final-year students in the schools of Engineering, Education, Science and Aerospace Studies, Arts and Social Sciences, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Business and Economics, Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management, Law and Information Sciences.
Meanwhile, to contribute to the fight against Covid-19, the South Eastern Kenya University based in Kitui has started mass production of sanitiser and N95 face masks at the departments of Physical Sciences and Clothing and Textiles.
Recently the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) approved the production.