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Parents support reopening of schools even as Covid-19 cases soar

By Antony Gitonga | December 5th 2020
National Parents Association (NPA) Chairman Nicholas Maiyo flanked by members addresses the press. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The National Parents Association (NPA) has supported the re-opening of schools in January 2021 despite the rising cases of Covid-19.

The association said schools are safer than homes even as several students and teachers continued to test positive for the virus.

It said the issue of congestion was still a challenge in public schools, adding that masks were the only solution to the millions of students returning to classrooms.

Addressing the press in Naivasha yesterday after a three-day meeting, NPA chair Nicholas Maiyo said they were comfortable with the Infection Prevention and Control measures put in place by the government.

He said that many learners had been exposed to sexual exploitation, pregnancies, recruitment into militia and child labour for the time they have been staying at home.

“Our children are safer in schools than at home and we shall be monitoring the readiness of the institutions to ensure compliance with the set measures,” he said.

Accompanied by representatives from all the 47 counties, Maiyo called on the government to give parents a two-month grace period to clear fees arrears and increase capitation through the stimulus programme.

“Under the stimulus programme, we propose that capitation to primary schools be increased by Sh1,000 and that of secondary schools be raised by Sh5,000,” he said.

On Early Childhood Development (ECD), Maiyo admitted that there was a crisis, noting that counties which handled the devolved function would have to expand their facilities.

“We foresee a situation where there will be double intake of minors in ECD which falls under the county government,” he said.

On universities, he said they were opposed to the proposal to increase tuition fees from the current Sh16,000 per year to Sh 48,000, terming it unfair to parents who had lost jobs due to the pandemic.

“We are also concerned about rising cases of insecurity in Isiolo, Turkana, Wajir and Baringo as this will affect re-opening of schools,” he said.

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Sarah Githinji, the association’s vice-chair, said many girls will not go back to school due to pregnancies.

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