A Nakuru-based doctor has moved to court to challenge the government’s decision to force primary and secondary school students to repeat classes after learning was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Magare Gikenyi Benjamin filed the case, on behalf of two minors, before the High Court in Nakuru County yesterday.
The respondents are Education CS George Magoha and the Kenya National Examination Council whom he accuses of making a proclamation without facts and scientific and legal basis.
Gikenyi told court the two minors and thousands of other Kenyan primary and secondary school students have been subjected to unfair treatment by the State.
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“The rights to education of the thousands of pupils and students has been affected. They have not been given a fair treatment,” he said in his court papers filed before Justice Joel Ngugi.
He said dashing hopes of students hoping to sit their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education or other examinations this years is illegal and inhuman.
Gikenyi the Ministry of Education has made a determination that students have not covered the curriculum without examining them.
The Ministry of Education, in a press release on July 7, announced that there would be no pre-primary school enrolment in 2021 and that the current Standard Seven pupils will not progress to Standard Eight.
Prof George Magoha said learners would repeat classes because they have not covered the 2020 syllabuses.
In the statement, Magoha said the 2020 school calendar would be considered lost due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The CS said all learners in Grade One, Grade Two, Grade Three and Grade Four as well as those in Standard Five, Standard Six, Standard Seven, Form One, Form Two and Form Three, will repeat their classes in 2021.
Magoha also said there will be no KCSE nor KCPE examinations until 2021 due to the pandemic.
Gikenyi claims Magoha’s decision is based on opinions, hearsays and conjecture, and as a result, thousands of learners who have been taking their studies courtesy of home-based learning and through e-learning platforms stand to lose immensely.
The doctor wants the court to compel the ministry to allow enrolment of pre-primary learners in 2021.
He also wants the State compelled to allow learners to progress to the next level, and register and examine those who may wish to sit the national examinations.
“Without any notice whatsoever, CS Magoha caused schools to abruptly cut learning. There is no admission to pre-primary, no progression to Standard Eight and any other class and no registration of learners to sit the KCPE and KCSE exams for the current Standard Seven pupils and Form Three students,” states the doctor.
Mahoha’s decision, Gikenyi said, has led to the loss of time and fees paid for the year 2021 which has in turn put a strain on parents and guardians considering that Covid-19 has induced economic hardships.
By declaring a whole year lost, Gikenyi said, the CS cared less about the time wasted in learning in term one as well as during home-based and e-learning.
“The CS cared less about the future of the learners who have been working hard to complete their education in time and prepare for the life ahead,” Gikenyi said.
He argues there’s no nexus between physical opening of schools and the Covid-19 situation in the country to barring four-year-olds from joining pre-primary in 2021.
Justice Ngugi certified the application as urgent but declined to issue orders against the CS.
Justice Ngugi said the issues the application is raising about the policy on progression of learners owing to Covid-19 pandemic deserves full ventilation to determine if it is truly rational or was otherwise arrived at in violation of due process that safeguards public participation rights of key stakeholders.
The case will be mentioned on November 16.