Why learners will not repeat classes

Muthuaini Girls High School Form One students take notes during a lesson on January 22, 2020.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • According to a proposal by the Education Task Force on Covid-19, primary and secondary schools should reopen for second term between October 5 and 19.
  • The learners will then be required to begin their third term from January 5 and end on April 2.

The reversal of the decision to cancel the school academic year has come as a relief to parents, learners, book publishers and other education stakeholders.

According to a proposal by the Education Task Force on Covid-19, primary and secondary schools should reopen for second term between October 5 and 19. The term, the team proposes, should end on December 18.  

The learners will then be required to begin their third term from January 5 and end on April 2.

The school calendar has been reorganised to begin in June instead of April.

The development is a reprieve for many parents and teachers who were not comfortable with the prospect of the children spending two years in the same class.

President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the closure of schools when the country recorded its first coronavirus case in mid-March.

Losing Sh20 billion

Children who were to begin pre-primary education will have to wait until June 2021.

Form One students will also join secondary school in the same month.

“The reorganisation of the calendar is meant to cushion students against repeating class in January, when Ministry of Education had proposed learning institutions to reopen,” a source in the task force told the Nation.

Kenya Publishers Association chairman Lawrence Njagi had written to the ministry, opposing the cancellation of the academic year.

Mr Njagi said publishers risked losing more than Sh20 billion this year if the school calendar were scrapped.

“We are happy to learn that students will not repeat classes,” Mr Njagi said yesterday.

Parents had raised concerns about this year’s first term after Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said schools would reopen early next year.

The plan to make learners repeat class had been informed by the need to avoid congestion in schools.

If Standard Eight pupils were to sit the national examination this year, secondary schools would have two Form One classes in 2021.

School principals said handling such a large number of children in one class would be impossible.

Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates will write their examinations in April 2021. The results are expected the following month.

Parents and other education players had also raised concerns about overage students sitting KCSE tests.

A majority of Form Four students are aged 17 to 19.

The cycle would have been repeated until every current primary and secondary learner completes high school.

Overage students

That means it would have taken more than 15 years to recover from the challenge of overage students.

According to the ministry guidelines, pre-primary schools should only admit a child who is four years old.

It means the earliest a learner can complete secondary schooling is at age 17.

The Education Ministry developed the policy after it emerged that some Kenyans were enrolling their underage children in schools.

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday chaired a Cabinet meeting to discuss the proposals by the task force ahead of his address to the nation on Monday. The President is also expected to announce the official school reopening dates.

Prof Magoha on Monday said he would present the task force report to a national stakeholder’s conference.

The minister added that time has come for children to go back to school and agreed on a phased reopening. Standard Seven and Eight and Form Three and Four learners will be the first to report when schools reopen. Those in Grade Four may also be in the first group.

Children in Pre-Primary, Grade One to Three, Standard Five and Six and those in Form One and Two will be in school two weeks later.

Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia asked tutors to start preparing teaching and learning materials, including time tables, schemes of work and lesson plans.

“Develop innovative strategies and mechanisms for curriculum implementation while upholding Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols for containing the spread of Covid-19, including social distancing, regular hand washing, use of sanitiser and wearing of face masks,” Mrs Macharia said. 

fnyamai@ke.nationmedia.com