- Only higher education institutions will begin opening at that time, according to the minister.
- Another reason for postponing the national examinations was that it would be difficult for students in Grade 7 and Grade 3 to complete the remaining term.
- The move will be a blow to private school teachers and those employed by school governing bodies who have not received salaries since March.
All elementary and high school students in Kenya will have to repeat classes next year after the government canceled the tuition schedule this year due to the coronavirus epidemic. Hope that schools will open by September, or at least they will be allowed to return to school, has now disappeared.
Coronavirus infections continue to increase in the country, and are expected to peak in September. The Minister of Education, Prof. George Magoha, also announced that as a result of consultation between stakeholders, there will be no Grade 8 examinations (KCPE) or Form Four (KCSE) this year.
Only higher education institutions will begin opening at that time, according to the minister. Speaking in Nairobi yesterday, Prof. Magoha said the decision of the Special Panel of Specialists pleased President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“These instructions will be followed by all schools. All children are equal in the country. There is no difference between a child’s [public] school or international,” said Prof Magoha. There are 752,836 students enrolled for the KCSE exam this year, while those enrolled in the KCPE examinations total 1.2 million. The Minister and Professor added:
“If we allowed Grade 8 students to take the KCPE exam this year, it would mean a total of 438,490 students would not have a chance to sit for their exams. Besides, it would be difficult to make sure that students do not get close to each other, according to regulations issued by the Ministry of Education to control coronavirus infections.”
Another reason for postponing the national examinations was that it would be difficult for students in Grade 7 and Grade 3 to complete the remaining term.
“Those students have lost two semesters this year. How would they be able to complete those semesters in 2020 alone? That would be impossible,” he said. Another reason for the move was that if students were allowed to travel back to their schools by hiring cars, it would put them at risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
The move will be a blow to private school teachers and those employed by school governing bodies who have not received salaries since March. Education stakeholders who spoke at the press conference expressed satisfaction with the government’s move.
“The safety of children and teachers at school is important. Therefore, Kenyans should support this decision. All citizens and parents make sure the children are safe at home until they return to school,” said Secretary-General of the National Association of Teachers (KNUT), Mr. Wilson Sossion.
This statement was supported by a colleague of the Secondary Teachers’ Association (KUPPET), Mr. Akello Misori, who emphasized that there will be significant challenges if coronavirus infections will increase when children are in school.
A representative of the private schools on the committee, Ms. Mutheu Kasanga, said consultations would be made on how private school teachers and school governing bodies would be assisted when schools were closed.
Regarding universities and colleges, Prof Magoha said the ministry would provide guidance on when the institutions would be opened. According to the minister, the National Examinations Council of Kenya (KNEC) will also provide a new timetable for examinations at these institutions.