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Prioritise safety of teachers, learners – Sossion tells government

EDUCATION
By Patrick Vidija | April 14th 2021

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion flanked by union officials drawn from Rift Valley and Western region after a meeting in Nakuru on February 28, 2021. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard].

The Kenya National Union of Teachers-KNUT has asked the government to use the lessons learned in the second term to improve learning the environment ahead of schools reopening.

The union has said first lockdown measures affected both the teachers and the learners’ way of doing things but the government can put measures in place to help learning institutions adjust.

Secretary-General Wilson Sossion further said the government should not bend to pressure to postpone the reopening.

He said instead the government should prioritise the safety of the leaners and teachers despite the Covid-19 positivity rate.

"Opening of schools should not be postponed. We have had so many side effects especially as a result of gender-based activities and as education stakeholders, we cannot let learners stay out of school for longer," he said.

Sossion who doubles up as a nominated Member of Parliament said as a preventive measure, the government should escalate massive vaccination for teachers.

He said so far only about 70,000 teachers have been vaccinated.

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Sossion was speaking on Citizen TV's DayBreak program.

He said there has been a slow uptake of the vaccination because the process was demonised from the very beginning.

"We have heard of so many false notions about the vaccine's side effects and this is what is contributing to the slow uptake of vaccination in the teaching fraternity,” he said.

Sossion argued the government should double efforts in sensitising the public on why the vaccination jabs are important.

"To our teachers I say, you will be a dangerous person if you go back to school in May without having been vaccinated. We must all come out and get the jab," he said.

Sossion said implementing learning across the country is not an easy undertaking but with a clear road map it can be done.

It is easy to help learners adhere to basic containment protocols like washing of hands and proper masking rather than forcing them to social distance because that is not easy to achieve," he said.

His sentiments were echoed by the Kenya Private Schools Association -KEPSA CEO Peter Ndoro who said the private sector is ready for reopening as announced by Education CS George Magoha.

Ndoro said any plans to postpone reopening will negatively affect the recovery process of the curriculum.

"The challenges we have had is not really about the infrastructure but obeying the protocols. Washing hands and masking properly are basics that will go a long way in reducing the infection rate," he said.

Nairobi County Education CEC Janet Ouko said the country has managed to sail through a health crisis but plans to postpone the school calendar for the second time will plunge the country into an education crisis.

"We must all agree that when children are in school they are not really at a bad place. All we need to do is properly manage the learning system, focus on what doable as a short-term solution and demystify the notions that children at greater risk while in schools," she said.

 

Covid 19 Time Series

 

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