The National Command Centre on Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta this morning to brief him on initiatives being put in place to reopen schools.
This comes after the team led by Major General Ayub Matiiri yesterday met the Covid-19 National Education Response Committee set up to give an outline on how it intends to achieve its mandate.
Sources told The Saturday Standard that the government is putting in place measures to ensure schools reopen next month, especially for Standard 8 and Form Four candidates who are to sit national exams towards the end of the year.
The re-opening of schools has put Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha under pressure to expand the Covid-19 National Education Response Committee by including representatives of Council of Governors, Kenya Institute of Special Education and teachers’ unions.
Formed early this week, the nine-member team led by Dr Sarah Ruto has already invited stakeholders and the public to submit their views on the best possible national response on the education sector. The deadline for submissions is Friday next week.
The committee’s members are drawn from Kenya National Examination Council, the Teachers Service Commission, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Kenya special heads, primary and secondary heads associations and religious organisations.
Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya faulted the team’s formation.
“Governors are collaborating with the government in the fight against Covid-19. Schools and colleges that are being used as isolation centres are situated in our counties. We need to be part and parcel of any effort aimed at returning our kids to classrooms,” Oparanya said.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) have written to Magoha demanding that they be included.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said teachers’ role is critical especially at this period when school re-opening faces uncertainty.
But speaking yesterday during an inspection tour of Ruiru Secondary School in Kiambu, Prof Magoha denied that teachers had been sidelined.
“We are very serious about thinking what we need to do with our children, the issue of inclusivity not withstanding. Is the union represented? Yes. We have put one unionist who will coordinate all the others,” he said.
Magoha said his ministry is exploring how students will adhere to social-distancing rules while in schools and have enough flowing water to heighten hygiene.
“Having one double-decker in one cubicle is something we will have to reconsider,” he said.