Thousands of students holed up at homes because of Covid-19 lockdown are expected to begin classes this week in their respective estates and villages.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has directed all teachers to submit details of their current location and immediately start teaching small groups of students living nearby under the community-based learning programme.
“The commission has directed that all teachers under its employment shall undertake community-based learning without charging parents, with effect from August 12, until further notice,” stated a circular released by TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia yesterday.
“All teachers employed by the commission are directed to register with curriculum support officers and sub-county directors within zones and sub-counties where they are currently staying by August 12 (yesterday),” stated the circular.
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The development is a major reprieve for parents who have been struggling to keep their children engaged since schools shut down in March following an outbreak of Covid-19.
In a circular dated August 11, to TSC regional directors, county directors and sub-county directors, Dr Macharia instructed that registration of teachers starts immediately.
Sources familiar with the plan told The Standard that the government intends to use community-based learning model to rehearse schools reopening.
Primary and secondary school head teachers who spoke to The Standard yesterday said they have been instructed to be in school at least once a week to monitor the learning programme.
This means that schools might be the target venues of the community-based teaching programme after it emerged that most urban estates may not have adequate open spaces for learning.
“Most villages and estates do not have halls or huge open spaces to facilitate this kind of learning. This means that schools will be used to teach,” said one secondary school teacher.
In the guidelines issued by TSC, teachers are expected to set up a face-to-face learning programme to engage not more than 15 learners for at least four hours per day.
“Such spaces should be well arranged in strict adherence to the guidelines and protocols issued by the Ministry of Health,” reads the guidelines.
The TSC has directed teachers to ensure that learning groups are set up according to their classes.
“Organise the learners as much as possible according to their classes and/or age to ensure that topics under discussion are relevant, suitable and appropriate,” states the guidelines.
The Kenya Secondary School Heads Association national chairman Mr Kahi Indimuli said it might not be prudent to teach the curriculum as yet.
“Schools cover the syllabus differently. These children will not always be from the same schools even if they are in same class. This means that they will not be at par,” he said.
The TSC has instructed teachers to provide learning activities in reading and numeracy and other subjects of interest to learners to keep them engaged.
Overall, they will be required to develop daily activity-based programmes to engage learners on life skills and values.
Teachers are also expected to utilise available radio, television and online content within their reach to make learning interactive.
In an unstated warning to teachers who abscond duty or engage in any form of malpractice during community-based classes, the TSC has said the code of regulations and code of conduct and ethics for teachers shall be applied throughout the programme.
To ensure all children attend the classes, TSC will be working with the Ministry of Interior, which will monitor and ensure all learners participate in the programme.