Primary and secondary school candidates are likely to return to school next month in the latest proposal to restart the academic year.
The 1.9 million candidates will report for the second term and sit their examinations in April next year. If the plan is adopted, the 750,150 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates would sit their examinations between April 1-4.
The nearly 1.2 million Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination candidates would take their tests between April 6 and 30. The rest of the learners will report in the first week of January for a new academic year, according to the plan.
However, they will repeat classes under a shift system that will ensure the school population does not exceed half at any given time. Pre-school and lower grades will have their lessons twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Grade 4-6 pupils will have their lessons every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, while Standard Seven and Standard Eight pupils will attend school daily. For boarding schools, Grade 1-5 will not be allowed to stay in school.
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Grade Six boarders will attend classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while Class Seven and Eight pupils will have daily lessons. For boarding secondary schools, learners will attend classes on alternate days. Form One and Form Two students would attend lessons on Tuesday and Thursday, Form Three on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Form Four will attend lessons daily.
Schools closed in March over Covid-19. The proposal, by educationists working with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders, is expected to be ratified by the Education Response Committee chaired by Dr Sarah Ruto this week.
Yesterday, Education CS George Magoha said the committee would decide on when to open schools and the date for national examinations before Saturday. The committee comprises representatives of secondary and primary school heads, private schools, international schools and parents’ association.
Others are Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Council of Churches of Kenya and Muslim Education Council. Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Ministry of Health, Kenya National Examination Council and Ministry of Education are listed as ex-officio members. Prof Magoha said the recommendations will be tabled during a second meeting of the national education stakeholders scheduled for September 21.
The decisions reached here will be reviewed at an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and Fred Matiang’i of Interior before next Friday and a call made on when to resume school. Yesterday, stakeholders endorsed the plan to reopen schools on the account that cases of coronavirus have dropped to below five per cent.
The verdict was made at a meeting attended by representatives of primary and secondary school heads, universities and middle-level colleges, religious leaders, private school managers, parents’ associations, TSC, Ministry of Health and the examinations council.
“We have seen a decline in the number of cases and even in hospitals, the Covid-19 units are not full. Community transmission has also gone down with positivity rate of slightly below five per cent and we can now start to reconsider how much to relax restrictions,” said Dr Loice Ombajo, head of Infectious Diseases Unit at Kenyatta National Hospital and a member of the education stakeholders’ committee.
“We looked at all the facts. We have come to a consensus that it’s time to relook at the schools reopening dates,” said Magoha. The CS said that social distancing remains a major challenge noting teaching will be conducted in shifts.