Wow! What a year we are having so far ey? 2020 is one of a kind and just six months in with a global health pandemic that has spiked change of lifestyle and adaptations that may have never seemed possible. Not being able to give hugs nor shake hands or freely meet friends or family members whenever the need came. I have learned quite a handful during this time and I am sure you have too. Now more than ever, I appreciate social media detox because my mental health is important. The information we feed our minds is powerful enough to impact our emotions and body response.
Anyway, back on track for today’s read. I am writing this because I just thought of the millions of students in Kenya who as from the official statement by Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha, will be home until January 2021 when schools are scheduled to reopen. This 9 months break sits at the top in record for learners to ever be at home. The 2020 school calendar was basically cancelled and so were the national examinations for both primary and secondary schools.
A tremendous transition for all these children who had plans of moving to the next grade and millions anticipating to join colleges or universities. But their health as well as that of their teachers and non-teaching staff is at stake due to the rising in numbers of covid-19 cases. Before this directive by the CS, it had been speculated that there was a possibility of reopening schools in September and all learning institutions would have to adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines of social distancing and plenty of water for students to regularly wash their hands. To be frank this was very impossible to execute because things on the ground are different.
With that being said, there is plenty of time for the ministry of education to boost the infrastructure in schools to accommodate the thousands of learners who in reality do not have enough space as it is. The next half of the year is enough time to build more classrooms, refurbish toilets and old classrooms, kitchen and staff-rooms for teachers. All this will help facilitate pupils comfortably when they go back and provide better learning environment.
The government through the ministry should increase and provide resources necessary to make changes in schools most certainly classrooms to change the narrative that we have seen in the past of learners taking lessons under a tree or seated on stones without desks. Preparing themselves adequately for a back to school period next year.
We do not know how the situation with corona virus will look like come January 2021 but we need to be prepared for children going back to school. Going to better studying environment; painted classrooms, new classroom blocks, repaired and new desks and chairs, more water points with clean water and proper fields for children to relax their minds after 30-minutes lessons and lastly proper equipped kitchens that will facilitate meals for children while at school. “A kid cannot learn on an empty stomach”.
We often see politicians looking for things to do in the communities to create a good rapport with constituent members. During this pandemic period, they have not talked much even about how schools and how this break will affect the future generations of this great country. It is my hope that they put taxpayer’s monies to great use and make visible impact that students will forever be grateful for. They deserve it. It is in their right to have an education and a conducive environment. Therefore, Members of County Assemblies, Women Representatives, Governors and the National Government through Constituency Development Fund programs, this is a challenge to you all to do right by the children of Kenya.
Written by Ann Wambui