Reports that public schools are facing a serious cash crunch two weeks after reopening is startling to say the least.
With the looming Covid-19 threat and infrastructure challenges, failure or delays by the government to fully fund school operations leaves a lot to be desired.
While it is commendable that the Ministry of Education released Sh14.4 billion to schools to help them prepare for the phased re-opening, it is worrying that school heads are raising the red flag even before the remaining classes resume.
Only Grade 4, Standard Eight and Form Four learners reported back to school for 11 weeks of Second Term on October 12.
Kahi Indimuli, the chair of Kenya Secondary School Heads Association painted a grim picture when he revealed that many secondary school managers were facing hard times operating without funds.
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What’s more unsettling is that schools have run broke at a time compliance with Covid-19 protocols remains a monumental challenge. It is one thing to direct school heads not to send away learners on account of parents’ failure to pay fees and another to ensure vital programmes, such as feeding, are taken care of.
As we have consistently pointed out, the government must be in touch with the situation on the ground and dig deeper into its pockets to meet its own safety requirements in schools. Over and above, mobilisation of resources should be endless if the threat of Covid-19 spread is to be reduced.
Education CS George Magoha has ruled out closure of schools due to the Covid-19 cases reported among learners, saying the situation was being monitored. However, it cannot be business as usual just yet. Let constant assessment and consultations continue.
Deaths from Covid-19 are inching closer to 900 after 12 more patients died from the virus. Additionally, 947 more people have tested positive from the virus. The highest was on Thursday when 1,068 people tested positive from 7,556 samples.
Surveys show many institutions have limited classrooms, inadequate desks and toilets besides lack of sanitisers, running water and masks. With fears that the nation could plunge into a new wave, the most prudent thing now is to ensure schools are supported to overcome the current hurdles. The coming weeks will be crucial in the war against the virus.