Learners report back without fees, masks

Confusion marred the second day of re-opening of schools, with teething problems emerging even as most institutions registered nearly 100 per cent reporting.

School heads yesterday said some children reported without masks, with those in day schools being sent back home for protective gear.

Boarding schools

Chairman of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Associations Kahi Indimuli said principals of some boarding schools had to use institutions’ funds to buy masks.

“Some parents knew that masks would be provided in school as had earlier been said by some Ministry of Education officials. It was difficult for boarding schools to send children away for masks and so they had to provide,” said Indimuli.

Speaking as he monitored opening of schools in Nairobi on Monday, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha directed learning institutions to ensure mandatory use of masks.

He said monitoring of body temperature for learners, staff and all other persons accessing the schools should also be mandatory.

Kenya National Parents Association chair Nicholas Maiyo said the ministry had left the purchase of masks to parents. “The government should just provide the masks so that we have uniformity in quality and supply,” said Maiyo.

Each child is expected to have at least two reusable face masks.

Prof Magoha said on Monday that Kenya Commercial Bank had donated 1 million masks and appealed to other well-wishers and corporate companies to chip in.

It also emerged that parents were sending their children to school without fees, citing the directive by Magoha that no learner should be sent home.

Indimuli yesterday said school heads were facing a serious challenge in managing parents and children who report without fees.

“Magoha said that principals should be considerate, but what happens in cases where parents don’t bring anything at all?” posed Indimuli, noting that some schools were already having problems paying support staff.

He said the Sh3,726 sent for every child was not adequate. “Of this, some Sh500 has been channeled to Covid-19 mitigation, leaving only Sh3,226 to cater for the rest of vote heads, including electricity and water,” said Indimuli.

Schools heads also cited confusion over the directive to procure rice from the Kenya National Trading Corporation.

Full classes

Most schools registered nearly full classes on second day of opening.

Private Schools Association chair Mutheu Kasanga said so far all the institutions had registered about 91 per cent attendance.

Kenya Primary School Heads Association chair Nicholas Gathemia said schools had recorded higher numbers of students.

It emerged that some expectant secondary school candidates failed to show up.

Some male candidates also did not report as it was said that some had ventured into menial jobs and boda boda business.

The Standard established yesterday that the conduct of learners, teachers and parents in the next two days would determine whether learners in other classes would be recalled.

Sources revealed that senior officials in the ministries of Education and Health, as well as the Teachers Service Commission, would go on a retreat over the weekend to analyse events and data registered during the first week of re-opening.

The information will be used to decide whether to call back Grade One to Three, Class Six and Seven pupils, and Form One to Three students.

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