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Education CS ordered to reopen schools within 60 days

By Paul Ogemba | November 20th 2020

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has been ordered to put in place measures to protect learners.

While faulting the abrupt closure of schools, High Court judge James Makau directed the CS to ensure all schools are reopened within 60 days.

“The court finds that the open-ended closure and opening of schools without proper guidelines and consultations was a violation of children’s right to education. The CS is ordered to immediately put in place measures to ensure the resumption of face-to-face learning within 60 days,” ruled Justice Makau.

He noted that continued closure of schools was causing more psychological harm and torture to school-enrolled children and that the Education ministry must put in place measures to protect them when learning resumes in January.

Makau also quashed Prof Magoha’s intention to introduce community-based learning and instead directed the CS to engage education stakeholders, including parents, to come up with safety measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 when schools reopen.

According to the judge, the community-based learning, as proposed by the CS and the Teachers Service Commission, on July 30 was unconstitutional since it lacked public participation from the National Education Boards, County Education Boards and parents association.

Makau ruled that in prolonging the closure of schools from March 16, Magoha should have consulted with the education stakeholders to ensure children do not lose learning time.

Ensure survival

The judge said all children had a right to life and it should be the responsibility of the government to ensure their survival and development are taken care of.

Joseph Aura, a parent, had gone to court arguing that it was unconstitutional to continue keeping children at home through indefinite closure of schools while other countries worst hit by Covid-19 had reopened institutions.

Mr Aura said since March 16 when President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the closure of all schools, his three children had suffered psychological torture for staying long at home without any justifiable reason.

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