by David Karani
Primary and secondary schools students will stay longer in class and the August holiday will be shortened to enable them catch up with lost time due to the effects of Covi-19 oandemic on education.
In a document to the National Assembly Committee on Education, the Ministry of Education said the measures will ensure students recover the lost time in the school calendar and complete the syllabus.
Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) George Magoha said the pandemic has affected learning of 15 million learners in both primary and secondary schools, but maintained that the curriculum will be completed as the government has made several adjustments to the school calendar.
In a bid to compensate for lost time, the CS said second term half-term will now be shortened by four days.
The ministry will also shorten the August holiday by two weeks, an indication that the government has no plan to postpone the two national exams scheduled later this year.
The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination is to start from October 26 to October 29, while the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) will begin on November 2 and end on November 25, should the Kenya National Examination Council decide not to postpone the exams.
There has been concern about the fate of the examinations following the disruption to the school calendar, which has seen candidates lose valuable contact time with their teachers.
In addition, the ministry also said the operations of day schools will also be adjusted to have longer hours. This means that the students will be expected to be in school earlier than before and leave late.
“Just like in other sectors, Covid-19 situation has also adversely affected the education sector, including the normal learning calendar,” Prof Magoha said.
He pointed out that coronavirus has affected the roll out of the curriculum designs for Grade Five, which was scheduled for January 2021. The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development had planned to evaluate the course books and teachers’ guide last month, but this could not happen.
The CS said the ministry will continue to consult other relevant stakeholders in the education sector and government agencies before coming up with other new interventions.
President Kenyatta ordered schools closed on March 15, three weeks earlier than the school calendar. Last week CS Magoha further extended the reopening of the second term by one month up to June 4.
Schools have so far lost half of the first term and face the loss of the entire month of May and part of June.