It’s phased reopening as teacher trainees recalled

Its all systems go for universities and tertiary colleges as preparations for Monday’s reopening continue.

The government, at the same time, has recalled students of teacher training colleges (TTCs).

Final year diploma students in TTCs will start classes on Monday in a plan that will see first and second year trainees recalled by October 19.

The Monday resumption of learning will be followed by exams that will be administered one week after reporting.

The examinations will start on October 13 and end on October 15, according to a circular released by Basic Education PS Bellio Kipsang on Thursday. The students will be expected to exit the institutions on October 16.

This means all the final year diploma students will be in college for only two weeks, after which they will free up the institutions for the rest of the students.

Students in teacher training colleges and those pursuing certificate and diploma courses in early childhood teacher education will also start classes on Monday.

Kipsang said full-time Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teacher trainees will be expected to start classes on October 26.

This development has opened in-person learning across all middle-level colleges and universities, marking the beginning of the road to full resumption.

The teacher trainees will now join universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVETs) students who had been recalled to report on Monday.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha asked all final-year students in universities and examination classes in TVETs institutions to report on Monday next week for face-to-face learning.

He, however, said for the rest of the students, university councils and senates and colleges boards will make the decision based on the Covid-19 situation and their level of preparedness.

“The respective universities councils and boards of tertiary institutions will communicate opening dates and schedules for the rest of the students,” said Prof Magoha.

The development is relief for students who have stayed at home for at least six months since learning was suspended to control the spread of Covid 19.

This is also a reprieve to the institutions whose operations had ground to a halt, with revenue streams, such as students’ fees and income generating projects, sealed.

Parents who had for many months agonised about transition of their children are also breathing a sigh of relief as their future now looks promising.

Magoha, however, said all these gains may not be realised if students, institutions’ management and learning communities fail to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols.

“Safe resumption of in-person learning in all universities and tertiary institutions requires utmost fidelity to the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 protocols and guidelines,” he said.

The CS said all institutions opening doors for face-to-face learning must enforce strict adherence to the health protocols.

“These include monitoring of body temperature for learners and all persons accessing the institutions, observing high-level hygiene and hand-washing or use of sanitisers,” said Magoha.

The colleges have also been empowered to develop innovative ways of ensuring social distance and use of face masks or shields.

As part of reopening conditions, the institutions have been advised to offer psychosocial and spiritual support to learners and staff during the entire time of the pandemic.

Students yesterday urged the Ministry of Education to ensure the institutional capacity in universities, TTCs and TVETs continuously adhere to 1.5-metre social distancing rule.

The students also want the government to provide financial support to the institutions to enable them employ more lecturers and tutorial fellows so as to maintain the lecturer-students ratio within Covid-19 protocols.

In a statement, Kenya Universities Students’ Organisation president Antony Manyara urged the government to provide free, certified, standard masks and hand sanitisers for students.

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