Senators censure Magoha over back to school order
What you need to know:
- The CS’s order to reopen came hardly a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta, in an address to the nation, declared that learning places would remain closed until the safety of learners was ascertained.
- Mr Wetang’ula said the ministry should explain how the students in other classes transition to next classes should the candidates sit their exams in April.
The Senate has censured Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha’s stewardship of the ministry, as they questioned the ‘arbitrary’ manner in which he ordered the resumption of learning.
The lawmakers, in particular, assailed the CS saying the order to reopen schools was an ambush and criticised the ministry for failure to appraise the public on the state of preparedness.
Senators Gertrude Musuruve, Moses Wetang’ula and Amos Wako urged the ministry to assuage the curiosity of the public that learning places are safe and that the government has developed adequate safety measures and protocols to facilitate safe learning as schools resume on Monday. “The Ministry of Education has not given a hint on the level of preparedness for safe learning,” Mr Wetang’ula said, during the debate in the House.
The CS’s order to reopen came hardly a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta, in an address to the nation, declared that learning places would remain closed until the safety of learners was ascertained.
On Thursday, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said Prof Magoha has perfected the art of issuing inconsistent information on education matters and sought a statement from the ministry to explain the order on reopening the schools.
“It is impossible for parents to settle and prepare children for the reopening within three days,” Mr Cherargei protested, adding that a 90-day notice would have sufficed due to the long holiday.
“Many parents have been laid off due to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic. Some have relocated to villages and yet they are being asked to pay school fees within a span of three days,” he added.
Besides the safety and level of preparedness, the lawmakers wanted the ministry to explain how the state will ensure adherence to the measures and protocols developed by the Ministry of Health.
Mr Wetang’ula said the ministry should explain how the students in other classes transition to next classes should the candidates sit their exams in April.
Meanwhile, preparations for reopening have stalled in several schools in the South Rift region.
When the Nation visited Bondeni Primary School in Nakuru, there was no sign of preparations and no safety measures have been put in place as per Covid-19 guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
At Moi Secondary School, teachers said they have been forced to take up the responsibility of cleaning the school compound, classes and offices with the help of National Youth Service. Water and electricity to the school have been disconnected because of unpaid bills.
Timoo Primary School in Mariashoni may not resume studies as it requires renovation after unknown people vandalised it during the recent clashes in the area.
Most of the school heads are concerned about social distancing and inadequate facilities to meet the Health ministry protocols.
Additional reporting by Steve Njuguna, John Njoroge, Phyllis Musasia and Waikwa Maina