Authorities have engaged in a tough balancing act to keep children busy but safe in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
This week, the Ministry of Education rolled out a community-based plan, which will see learners taught from the safety of villages and estates.
The country’s learners stand to lose an entire academic year following a decision to suspend learning until 2021.
The registration process for the programme kicked off this week. In a circular to all Commission Regional Directors, County Directors and Sub-County Directors, TSC advices that learning will take place in open spaces within the communities.
Under this community-driven model, teachers will be required to engage learners on life skills and values such as weeding, cultivating, grazing animals, storytelling, planting, debating life issues and hygiene, among others.
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TSC has further directed that each class be organised in groups of 15 to ensure that the topics under discussion are relevant, suitable and appropriate. And with the ministries of Interior, Health and TSC fully engaged in the process, the government is betting on the new system to re-look the model of education that would stand future pandemics. This, we believe, is a timely forethought.
The initial stages will likely face teething challenges. Already, there are concerns as to whether there are enough open spaces and halls. Then there is the challenge of mobilising enough teachers to match the huge number of learners in some estates and villages.
There are also questions as to who will be answerable for cases of infections in the event this happens.
Despite these challenges, we believe this is a good move. It will ensure children are positively engaged throughout the crisis period. Education is not just about sitting in classes and writing exams. Life skills are key. We urge the ministry to go for what works and address these challenges one by one to make this mode a success.
During the crisis, we urge every education stakeholder to take up the challenge to ensure children do not fall victims of negative energies from the prolonged school closure.