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School closure extended by a month, Gvt has not decided to postpone exams

EDUCATION
By Jael Mboga | April 26th 2020

Schooling will not resume for a month after May 4 when they are supposed to reopen, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha (pictured) has announced. 

Speaking at Afya House on Sunday, Magoha said April will be treated as a normal break in the educational calendar.

As children remain home, there will be interventions based on how the government handles Covid-19.

Parents and teachers are worried about the effect of the coronavirus on KCPE and KCSE national examinations.

But Magoha said all students will be given time to make up for lost learning sessions before exams are administered.

He said as it is, the government has not about postponing the national exams.

Prolonged closure

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But reports also indicate the Ministry of Education is worried about a possible rise in cases of teenage pregnancies, early marriages, child labour and school dropouts sparked by the prolonged closure of schools.

There is also a high risk of job losses among non-teaching and contract staff.

The ministry fears there will be probable discrimination and stigmatisation of learners, who may be infected by the coronavirus or affected by the pandemic.

A proposed ministry emergency response plan says confinement of children at home due to school closures poses long-term consequences, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalised children who already experience barriers accessing education.

The draft Kenya Basic Education Sector Covid-19 Emergency response plan dated April 19, says if the schools closure is prolonged, adolescent girls are twice likely to be out of school. This group of learners face greater barriers to education and vulnerabilities such as domestic or gender-based violence when not in school.

The ministry argues that it will be a challenge to ensure students return and continue with their education when schools reopen due to early marriages, teenage pregnancies, child labour, drug and substance abuse due to frustration.

“Schooling provides an essential learning environment and when schools close, children and youth are deprived opportunities for growth and development,” reads the report.

It says the disadvantages are severe for under-privileged learners, who have fewer educational opportunities beyond formal school.

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