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Magoha prepares schools for worse times in the wake of Covid-19

By Agustine Oduor | April 8th 2020
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha looks at a pupil's book in one of the classrooms when he toured Kakamega Primary school

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has instructed all State departments under his ministry to propose what needs to be done under coronavirus worst-case scenarios.

The Standard has established that all Permanent Secretaries under Education Ministry have been instructed to audit their sections and make proposals on contingency plans in the face of possible extended coronavirus shutdown.

Cost implications, inherent gaps and possible interventions are being drawn to ensure the ministry is not caught off guard in the event the virus is contained or if it progresses beyond May.

Already, Basic Education is weighing options on what needs to be done under the home learning programmes as schools officially close this Friday.

Ministry of Education has been implementing an out-of-class lessons programme through online, television and radio channels.

Under the arrangement, learners have been accessing lessons on the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s (KBC) radio channel, Edu-channel TV, Edu TV on YouTube, and the Kenya Education Cloud.

As schools officially close Friday, The Standard established that the ministry is mulling whether the lessons should continue or the timetable can be adjusted.

By end of this week, schools will have lost three weeks under first term that stated January 6. President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered schools closed from March 16 for 30 days as a measure to curb the spread of the virus.

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This means that under the presidents directive, the earliest learning would start is April 16, but only if the virus cases are contained.

According to the 2020 school calendar, under normal learning term dates, second term was scheduled to start May 4 and to last 14 weeks. Closing for second term was planned for August 7.

However with more coronavirus cases being declared every day, the ministry is now laying plans of possible case scenarios that would be rolled out. This means that scenarios are being worked on in the event schools don’t open for second term in May.

“Suppose schools open in June how will the time be recovered? Will half-terms be abolished and then time used to cover the syllabus? Suppose by August no learning has resumed, shall second term be abolished? And should this progress to September, should examinations be rescheduled?” said a senior ministry official.

Also being weighed is, in case entire learning year is lost, whether learners will be progressed to next class and ways found to cover syllabus or all learners made to repeat classes.

Critical activities such as preparation for the national rollout of Grade Five under the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) are also being audited.

With preparations of the textbooks for Grade Five put on hold, the ministry is mulling what will happen at each stage of the preparations and whether the national rollout of Grade Five would be delayed.

Whether the first cohort of diploma teachers training will be admitted this year is also being weighed as cases of coronavirus are monitored.

How universities and colleges will recover lost time in the event virus is contained by June, August of December are also being audited.

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