Normal academic calendar resumes in January after Covid disruption

Learning is ongoing at Ndisi Primary School in Alego Usonga Constituency, Siaya County. [File, Standard]

Schools will open on January 8 next year for the first term, marking the resumption of the normal academic calendar three years after Covid-19 disruption.

The disruption followed the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in the country in March 2020 which forced closure of schools for more than six months to curb the spread of the disease.

Speaking during the release of the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results at Mitihani House, Nairobi, yesterday, Basic Education Principal Secretary Kipsang expressed joy at the end of the crash programme in schools.

“We are opening our schools on January 8, 2024, for our new year, meaning that we are back to our normal calendar. A calendar of events after Covid-19,” said Dr Kispang.

He acknowledged teachers for their efforts in ensuring learning continued even during the pandemic.

“I want to again thank our teachers for the much that you have put in. Last year, there were times we were running four terms in a calendar year. We even did so many examinations in the same year, we say thank you for the good work and for the work that you did.”

The Covid-19 disrupted the academic calendar leading to double national examinations in some years.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the closure of all learning institutions on March 15 after the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the country.

Then Education Cabinet Secretary, the late Prof George Magoha formed an Education Taskforce Committee on Covid-19 to come up with a new learning calendar that compressed the school timetable.

The calendar released by Prof Magoha in September 2020, saw school open doors first to learners in Grade 4, Standard 8 and Form Four for second and third terms with school calendar starting on October 12 to December 23 for 11 weeks while other learners opened school in January 2021.

The 2021 academic calendar was done in seven months from May to December with only one week break from December 24 to January 4, 2022.

Form Four and Standard Eight candidates sat for KCSE and KCPE respectively in April 2022.

The Ministry of Education also planned the 2021 school calendar to run from July to early 2022, with a view to have the school calendar revert to its traditional January to December calendar in 2023.

Ordinarily, the normal learning calender has about three months of learning from January to March for term one with a month of holiday in April.

Term two would begin in May and end in July with a holiday in August while term three would resume from September and end in November with a holiday in December and schools open in January.

The learning at the height of Covid-19 pandemic took place with social distancing in classrooms, wearing of masks by students and teachers and washing hands and classes taking longer hours.

Before Covid-19, first and second terms would run for 14 weeks while third term lasted for 10 weeks, allowing Standard Eight and Form Four candidates to do national exams in October and November respectively.

The new calendar denied the learners half-term and second-term breaks that takes about four to five days and inter-school sports competitions.

The new calendar affected parents economically considering the majority had been affected by job losses and closure of businesses due to lockdown.

Pupils and students would close for a week or two due to the crash programme designed to recover lost time and cover the syllabus.

In the new plan, all learners moved to the next class in June 2021.

Those in Standard Eight moved to Form One in 2021 while those in Form Four joined colleges and universities from September.

Towards the end of January this year, Dr Kipsang released a revised calender for 2023 for pre-primary, primary, secondary school and colleges, which was an amendment to the calender announced on November 7, 2022.

In the calendar, the Ministry stipulated that first term will begin on January 23, run for 13 weeks with learners breaking for a three-days half-term break from March 16 to 19 and close on April 22, 2023

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