Schools to lose 20 learning hours to demos

Anti-riot police officer escorts school children in Mathare 4A  during Azimio la Umoja anti-government protests on March 27, 2023. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Learners may lose up to 20 hours of lessons in planned three days anti-government protest, teachers warn.

Primary school learners will lose 14 hours while those in secondary school will waste about 20 hours of teaching and learning. And demonstrators have been asked to keep off learning institutions as details emerged that Azimio coalition’s planned protests start today.

Kenya School Heads of Association chairman Kahi Indimuli said learners stand to lose more if protests are not stopped and called for negotiations between the opposition and government.

He also asked the police to exercise restraint when controlling protesters and desist from throwing teargas in institutions.

“Most primary schools have children who don’t have the skills and knowledge on how to react in such situations. In secondary schools it may cause stampede that can have devastating effects,” he said.

Mr Indimuli spoke in his Machakos High school office. He said the demonstrations will affect schools for the fourth time since the new term began in May.

Schools opened on May 8 and will close in August 11 for two weeks. While some institutions partially operate with a fraction of total student and teacher population, others completely closed doors during the demonstration.

This now shines the light on effects of the protest on teaching and learning as it could possibly slow down coverage of syllabus.

On Tuesday, education stakeholders decried effects of the demonstration on teaching and learning.

Kenya Primary School Heads Association chairperson Johnson Nzioka warned of ‘significant disruption’ that has so far been occasioned by the protests.

He said 70 per cent of learners attend primary and secondary day schools and they are the most affected.

“Increased tension from previous protests has resulted to some learners and teachers skipping school and this slows down teaching and learning ultimately leading to delayed coverage of the syllabus,” Nzioka told The Standard.

Other stakeholders warned the damage could be long lasting. Without access to education, children and young people could be prone to abuse and violence.

On Tuesday, they called on the two warring parties to tone down political tension. Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary general Collins Oyuu said the ongoing demonstrations had resulted to a loss in learning time.

“One might think that an hour lost in the learning process is something is not important, but what we lose one day in teaching translates to effects and affects the end result and even examination of our children,” Oyuu said.

He further condemned the violence meted on some learning institutions in last demonstrations.

Last week, police lobbed a teargas canister in Kihumbuini Primary School in Kangemi putting at least 50 learners in hospital.

“Nobody, no genuine teacher can see this to be interesting, some of them shed tears, let alone parents of those children,” said Oyuu. 

KUPPET secretary general Akello Misori on Tuesday indicated that the ongoing political instability and the attack on some schools could damage the learners psychologically.

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