Crisis lingers in the education sector after it emerged that most learners who were registered in private schools may seek chances in the public learning facilities after being priced out due to the economic slump triggered by Covid-19 pandemic.
The Standard reported on Monday that most parents are eyeing public schools as their only fall back option when schools reopen fully on January 4, 2021. But this may come with a burden of having outstretched schools that are at the same time required to abide by the health safety rules to avert the spread of the virus.
The heads the Kenya Primary School Heads Association and the Kenya Secondary’s Heads Associations, Nicholas Gathemia and Kahi Indimuli have expressed concerns that facilities in the public schools may not support the numbers expected to seek chances. And this equals a looming crisis.
“Chances are many of them will not find opportunities in the public schools because they are already over stretched. It is not an easy thing as people might think,” Indimuli said.
Gathemia said, “Parents are opting to bring their children back to public schools where there is lesser burden. Parents are disoriented from job losses and some do not have the capacity to maintain their children in private schools.”
“We may not admit before we know where there is a vacancy, we can only know the vacancies when the children report back. We might admit and then fail to meet the required standards for seating capacity,” he further said.
According to him, the government could be more creative by introducing new shifts to ensure that all learners have equal opportunities as schools reopen.
To address impending crisis, the Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha urged schools heads of public primary and secondary schools to admit learners from private schools unconditionally.
“All pupils who cannot return to their private schools will be admitted in public schools. KCPE and KCSE candidates will learn in public schools but they will return to the private schools during examinations time to enable them sit the exams,” he said.
Magoha who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony of Dr Ida Odinga Library, Research, Innovation and Resource Center at Ogande Girls High School in Homa Bay said learners who registered for KCSE and KCPE in private schools will be given chances in the public schools.
He sympathised with the parents saying they had felt the economic pinch in the onset of the pandemic even as he warned principals against sending learners home for fees.
“To principals, do your homework before you send a student back home for school fees. We don’t want students to be sent home,” he said.
The CS said that the Government has plans to only give masks to learners with proven cases that their parents cannot afford the PPEs.
He reiterated the decision to accept all the girls who became pregnant during the holiday. “Pregnancy is not a disease. Let all pupils return to school in January and complete their studies,” the CS said.