Sh1.1 billion boost to schools reopening plan

Kawangware Primary School Children benefit from proper handwashing skills and equipment offered by Unilever East Africa in partnership with the Kenya Medical Association as they launch ‘Creations for Purpose’ during the marking of World Global Handwashing Day at the school. The campaign is meant to reduce incidences of pneumonia by 23 per cent and diarrhoea by up to 45 per cent. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The Government has received a Sh1.1 billion boost towards preparations for schools reopening.

The grant by Global Partnership for Education (GPE) will help facilitate a smooth transition in the return-to-school plans for targeted vulnerable students.

Of the money, Sh365 million will go towards supporting access and delivery of online content to all students in basic education.

Another Sh200 million will go towards supporting the training of teachers in online and distance learning to support remote learning while Sh300 million will be used to facilitate smooth transition back to school for vulnerable girls.

The funding comes as the Government puts in place measures to allow safe return to schools.

Some of the measures that require funding include creating additional spaces to cater for social distancing when schools reopen.

Erecting hand-washing points and the purchase of face masks and sanitisers also require huge budgetary allocations.

Overall, all students previously enrolled in pre-school, primary and secondary schools will benefit from the funding.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) will also benefit from the funds disbursed by the  Ministry of Education and supervised by the World Bank.

The funding is spread between July this year and December next year.

Under the first component that seeks to facilitate a smooth transition back to school, part of the money will be used to support the national school meals programme.

The school feeding programme suffered huge budgetary cutbacks, threatening school attendance and transition.

Data tabled in Parliament reveal that Sh600 million was cut from the programme’s budget last year, keeping many children out of school.

“Additional funding is required to cater for the 151-day school calendar year. More funds needed to cater for urban slums school-going children by providing food and purchase of uniforms” reads the report.

Under the second GPE component, the funding will help in expanding access to existing remote learning opportunities and will also be used to train teachers in interactive remote learning methodologies.

Also to be catered for is creating an integrated monitoring and evaluation system for remote learning interventions and support for parents and caregivers to monitor student learning.

Under the delivery of online learning programmes, a total of 150,000 teachers will be trained, with each of the school producing five staff.

The head teacher, deputy head teacher, the school ICT champions teacher and two other teachers will be trained per school.

“In addition, 1,164 curriculum support officers and 351 TSC field officers will be trained and sensitized on their role in the implementation process respectively,” reads report.

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