Last Updated at: 2020-06-01 05:53:15
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) want the national exams be postponed and be administered in the first quarter of 2021.
They said the government should assess the associated benefits and risks before focusing on National Exams adding that resumption of schools must be a negotiable effort, not a dictatorship.
“We would rather have all our children staying at home, safe and alive and repeating a year rather than sending them to school to die. The world will not come to an end if we suspend certain matters,” said Sossion.
KNUT and UASU were speaking during a joint presser on Wednesday which was also attended by officials from the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Doctors Union (KMPDU), Forum for African Women Educationalists – Kenya (FAWE – Kenya) and Elimu Tuitakayo Network were present during the presser.
"National exams, KCPE and KCSE, are not a ticket to heaven. They can be postponed to suitable time when the syllabus shall have been covered and when the curve shall have been flattened, ” Said Sossion arguing that a majority of the country’s teachers are above 50 years of age which puts them at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 if exposed.
“Reopening of schools, colleges and universities must be transparent, phased and coupled with clear communication by government and public universities, colleges and schools, with the input of public health professionals, frontline healthcare professionals, educators, academic staff and the unions,” they said in a statement.
The team was led by Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion and Uasu Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga and KHRC Executive Director George Kegoro complained being left out of the Covid-19 Education Response Committee.
They said, based on the UNESCO guidelines for school reopening, the decision on reopening of schools should be guided by the best interest of the child and overall public health considerations.
They also called for the government to do mass testing for all boarding school students and teachers before re-opening schools once the pandemic is contained adding that those who are sick be allowed to stay home until full recovery before resumption of learning.
They further called the government to train and support teachers and lecturers on Covid–19 Compliant Pedagogy including support for gender, disabilities, vulnerabilities, and Covid-19 survivors.
They further want more teachers and school workers recruited to support the expected intensive teaching and learning saying that online learning is not sufficient since many learners cannot access e-learning services and the few that do are unable to effectively interact with their teachers
“We’ve heard of people talking about Form 4 and Class 8 reopening. These are human beings; the world will not come to an end. Children can repeat a class, better save lives first. Even if the exams are pushed to November 2021, if we can evade death, let’s do so.” Said the officials.
Wilson Sossion also warned that teachers salaries must be protected and no one, whether government or private entities, should use Covid-19 to hold the salaries of teachers.
Sh6.5 billion was this week allocated to the Ministry of Education for recruitment of 10,000 teachers, 1,000 ICT interns and improvement of infrastructure in schools.
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