As the Ministry of Education continues with the assessment program in preparation for the schools’ reopening ahead of Jan, 2021, heads of learning institutions have raised a big financial challenge that hinders the preperation.
Head teachers who were recently interviewed, remained clear that the funds they got from the government for expansion and enhancing infrastructure is not enough to ensure school prepearedness for resumption of learning.
CS Magoha has been quoted hinting at a possibility of earlier reopening of learning institutions than the scheduled date, January 2021. According to Magoha, schools will resume when the Covid-19 curve levels down or learning institutions fully comply with the minimum requirements health conditions for the coronavirus prevention.
However, most of Kenya's public schools have large population of learners, congested classrooms, dilapidated infrastructure and dormitories that are overstretched. KESSHA (Kenya Secondary School Heads Association) head Mr Indimuli revealed that many learning institutions do not even have funds for school mantainance in the current situation.
Mr Nicholas Gathemia a Kepsha official supported Indimuli's statement saying that some schools that enterely depend on funds from the government are running without equipments.
As the Monitoring program by the Ministry of Education continues, it is the government expectation that all schools comply with the Covid-19 pandemic protocols as directed by Elyas Abdi, the Education Director-General, and that all schools be ready for the monitoring exercise.
During Monitoring, school-heads will be expected to submit data on their institution's ability to comply with the social distancing and safety measures for learners, teachers and non-teaching staff. This will enable the government to examine the right time of reopening schools.
School-heads complain that upto now they have not received the stimulus package of KSh6.5 billion for infrastructure improvement as announced by President Kenyatta. However last week, a ksh.500 per student money was released for improving and maintaining infrastructure.
The headteachers complain that the ksh.500 per student is too little to meeting the coronavirus guidelines for the 2021 reopening of schools. They complain that the money cannot afford to install or purchase water tanks, buy sanitizers, thermoguns and achieve all the requirements by the Ministry.
Some heads said they have only met only one or two of the many requirements expected by the Ministry. According to Mr Indimuli, most schools have not met conditions and they require funds to meet the guidelines.
Mr Gathemia also noted that no changes have been made in primary schools and it adds to nothing, to asses the institutions at this level. Private schools have also had their challenges as over 130 schools in Kenya permanently shut down due to lack of enough funds.