Kenya

Magoha's new plan for home-based classes

Magoha's new plan for home-based classes

Summary

  • Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on Thursday said chiefs and Nyumba Kumi leaders will be activated to identify teachers who will offer lessons at no cost to parents.
  • The teachers, who have been on full salary since schools were shut on March 15, will be expected to teach learners in their home areas regardless of the schools they attend.

  • Teachers will be required to put learners in small groups, ensure they wear face-masks, observe social distance and sanitise their hands during the communal classes.

Millions of school children, who have been whiling away their time playing at home will soon be required to attend communal classes in their neighbourhoods.

This follows a change of approach by the Ministry of Education on home-based learning after radio, TV, phone and online lessons failed to reach thousands of children in villages, towns and slums.

In the community-based model scheduled to begin in September, learners will be taught under trees, open spaces and social halls, as they await reopening of schools in January.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on Thursday said chiefs and Nyumba Kumi leaders will be activated to identify teachers who will offer lessons at no cost to parents.

The teachers, who have been on full salary since schools were shut on March 15, will be expected to teach learners in their home areas regardless of the schools they attend.

Although several private schools are engaging learners in online studies, Prof Magoga said, a majority of children, who attend public school, have been left out.

REMOTE LEARNING

“Although the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) continues to provide remote learning through radio, television and online programmes, there are some children who are unable to access them,” he said after meeting stakeholders at KICD in Nairobi.

He said the ministry is working with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to develop guidelines for teachers on the new model that will take a multi-agency approach.

“The commission will be issuing the guidelines in a few days’ time on the implementation of the programme,” TSC boss Nancy Macharia said. She added that teachers are always ready to offer their services.

In Prof Magoha’s new and ambitious plan, teachers will be required to put learners in small groups, ensure they wear face-masks, observe social distance and sanitise their hands during the communal classes.

He said the programme will not discriminate against learners in private schools and will involve all children within a given locality.

The CS said the teachers will also be required to teach moral values to stop the young from engaging in harmful activities such as drug abuse, premarital sex and child labour.

TEENAGE PREGNANCIES

There has been an uproar over rising cases of teenage pregnancies since schools were closed on March 15.

Earlier in the month, the Education ministry tasked school heads to collect data on pregnant girls and file the reports.

According to a recent survey by the National Council on Population and Development, more than 20,828 girls aged between 10 and 14 years have become pregnant since schools closed. It also shows that 24,106 girls between ages 15 and 19 are either mothers or pregnant.

According to the report, Machakos County recorded the highest cases of teenage pregnancies at 4,000 followed by Nakuru (1,748), Kajiado (1,523), Kericho (1,006), Homa Bay (957 and Garissa (901).

The teenage pregnancies have since caught the attention of President Kenyatta, who has directed the National Crime Research Centre to investigate the cases.

Prof Magoha announced his new plan after a stakeholders’ consultative forum to discuss the sector’s response to Covid-19 containment measures.

It followed a directive by the President on Monday that the CS convenes the meeting to give the country direction on the fate of the millions of learners who have been out of class since March.

The stakeholders who attended the meeting included officials of the Kenya National Union of Teachers, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers, the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu), the Kenya Private Schools Association, the Kenya National Examination Board, non-governmental organisations and medical experts.

RELEASE FUNDS

Further, Prof Magoha announced that the government will release funds to public schools in two weeks to enable them pay teachers employed by boards of management (BoM).

The CS said the money will also be used to pay non-teaching staff including guards, cooks, groundsmen and matrons to ensure proper maintenance and safety in schools.

“Those who had stopped working because of non-payment should now go back to work and ensure that schools are well maintained,” the CS said.

More than 72,000 BoM teachers across the country have gone without salaries since the abrupt closure in March.

Prof Magoha also announced that technical and vocational education institutions (Tvets) and universities will not reopen in September as widely expected but will resume face-to-face learning in January 2021.

He said a survey of all teacher training colleges, universities and Tvets had shown that only a few of them have put in place measures to comply with the Health ministry’s Covid-19 protocols.

“The final decision on the reopening of the TTCs, Tvets and universities will be dependent on the guidance from the Ministry of Health,” he said.

He directed universities to continue offering virtual learning, administer exams and hold virtual graduations but in strict adherence to quality standards set by the Commission for University Education.

So far, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology and Riara University have conducted online graduations while the University of Nairobi is set to hold its event on September 25.

The KCA University has also held a virtual orientation for first year students.