Category Archives: Teachers’ lounge

Parents in a fight with a school over ksh 45,000 enrollment fees.

The move by Brookhouse schools to charge ksh 45,000 before enrolling learners has been met by protest.

The parents associated with the institution termed the move illegal.

They said that they had been advised by a committee against heeding the call as doing so is tantamount to a new contract and an attempt to undermine the pending petition determination.

The School directed the parents to pay and re-enroll the learners latest Monday next week.

It was not clear however what would happen should a parent fail to heed the call.

An official has however said that the directive was misunderstood by parents.

In April,parents sued the school for exorbitantly charging its online classes.

According to the parents, the school demanded just for online classes despite other institutions discounting.

They said this same amount is always paid for face to face learning.

The case is however still pending in court.

In a later dated April 20th, the director of the school Mr John O’Connor,dismissed a section of the parents ,saying that majority were comfortable with the charges.

“While the school may not agree with some of the comments made in your letter, we move forward with a positive commitment to our whole school community in a spirit of mutual respect,” said Mr O’connor.

“We are collecting the data of our students to know who are willing to enroll and continue with our lessons.”

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Why Professor Magoha is justified to push school re-opening dates even to 2022.

Disclaimer:The views expressed in this article are my personal opinions and do not in any way reflect Cabinet secretary Prof Magoha’s plans in his line of duty.

Even as I write this article,it is my hope that a vaccine be found soonest.

However before then, doors to the buildings in all learning institutions should remain locked.

Before you ‘fire salvo’ at the Kenya’s Education cabinet secretary George Magoha over plans to postpone opening dates even further ,think of countries such as HongKong that closed back schools barely a month after opening, after experiencing a third wave of covid-19 infections.

Learners taking examinations in Hongkong.

Excuse me,how does Hongkong and Kenya compare in terms of economy and by extension ,preparedness to mitigate the spread of the virus?

Before you begin enumerating countries that have managed to open schools world over ,ask yourself the measures that they put in place pre-opening then look at them against Kenya’s.

Teachers’ and learners not Guinea pigs.

As a parent, get to know that your child and his/her teacher are not guinea pigs or rats in an experiment to test whether or not it is safe to reopen schools.

Learning institutions were in March closed following confirmation of just one case of covid-19.

The figures currently stands at 24,411 as of yesterday and you want schools opened ,are you mad?

Social distancing.

Hardly can learners interactions be restricted while in schools meaning even with masks on, infections are still bound to occur,again at a higher rate.

A class in progress in China,social distancing enhanced to curb spread of Covid-19.

You might argue that teachers will take care of them and ensure they put on masks at all times and maintain social distance as well. Since when did teachers become health care givers to do all these?

Even the proposed open-air learning should schools re-open is practically impossible. Think of the afternoon rains.Where will lerners have shelter in case of a heavy down pour? Definitely classrooms and you know how risky that can be.

Hospitals overwhelmed

Health facilities might be overwhelmed if infections increase among learners owing to the fact that home based care may not be an option in case of emergencies.

If you want schools opened without sacrificing teachers,learners and relatives who are studying, then it is prudent to have them closed till that time when it will be scientifically safe to do so.

Of concern to me are learners with special needs. Take an example of a paraplegic learner who will have to frequently adjust his/her mask in case it’s not well positioned.

The young ones with autism and language and communication difficulties needs time to be trained to master an instruction.

Before you fully train them on Social distancing and wearing of masks,they shall have contracted the disease.Is that what you want?

I hold the view that health supersedes education but if you have a contrary opinion then You should be reported to Ugandan president Museveni for some militaristic discipline.

By Belfast Brian , a special Needs Education Teacher.

Schools might not open in January as planned-Magoha

Even the opening date currently set in January is subject to change.

This was Magoha’s sentiment as he addressed National Assembly Education Committee in a virtual meeting on Thursday, August 6.

The Education cabinet secretary was however hesitant to reaffirm January opening dates before the committee.

He maintained his earlier sentiments that schools will only open on condition that covid-19 curve flattens for 14 consecutive days.

“Decisions regarding reopening of learning institutions may change as informed by prevailing circumstances and increased knowledge of Covid-19. If we open in January and there is a surge, we will step down and observe the trends. People have tried to open, like South Africa, and have shut again,” Magoha warned.

Further,he ruled out provision of National examinations (KCSE & KCPE) on grounds that allowing learners and tutors back to school in September could be detrimental as Covid-19 infections are set to rise come October .

Members of Parliament were piling pressure on Magoha to have examinations set based on what has been so far covered in the syllabus.

He however differed with the proposal arguing that Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) sets examinations based on syllabus coverage for 8 years and 4 years for primary and secondary schools respectively.

Based on the measures given by ministry of health, the CS however urged schools to prepare for opening in January.

“The authority to reopen for learning and research will be informed by MoH and my ministry based on dynamics of preparedness,” he added.

Education ministry also released funds meant for running schools for second and third terms as well as paying teachers employed on Board of Management terms.

Treasury deposited Ksh 3,725 per student. Magoha also received funds meant for upgrading schools.

The money will be used to build additional classrooms for secondary schools and hire more teachers.

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KUPPET seeks funds for setting up Covid-19 infrastructure.

Kenya Union of post primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) through its secretary general Akelo Misori has urged the government to release full capitation to schools to help implement Covid-19 mitigation measures.

He said that for health guidelines set out by the ministry of health to be fully implemented then the government should support schools.

“We urge the government to release full capitation funds for schools to enable them develop the infrastructure necessary for complying with Covid-19 protocols by January 2021,” said Misori in a statement. 

Misori made the remarks as he hailed the government for setting aside some funds for cushioning the BOM teachers.

He said that in addition to cushioning BOM teachers and other non-teaching staff members ,the funds will be used to meet obligations for utilities such as electricity, water, telephone and garbage collection.

“We thank President Uhuru Kenyatta and Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha, for hearing the cries of the workers. BOM staff are indispensable to the normal functioning of public schools,” he added.”

He affirmed KUPPET’s support for the community Based learning in conjunction with Nyumba Kumi initiative.

“We urge our members to come up with creative ideas to engage the learners in their respective localities, estates and villages.

Our message to teachers is simple: Even as we coordinate with the multi-sectoral agencies, do not wait for chiefs and provincial administration officials to advise you on this programme,” Misori urged.

He said that the union will map the country with the aim of establishing its members that will be available for the effort.

“Away from curriculum subjects, teachers must bear in mind the social needs of these perilous times and provide a broad-based programme encompassing mentorship, guidance and counselling, hygiene and Covid-19 awareness, the nurturing of life skills, values and community service,” said Misori.

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Government to Facilitate Online Learning ahead of re-opening:Magoha

Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha has urged universities to intensify online teaching ahead of 2021 reopening.

He was talking at Maseno University where he went to assess how prepared the university is interms of of  Covid-19 mitigation.

The CS said that virtual learning is the only way to go ,considering the prevailing conditions in the country currently.

“Up to 70 per cent of our universities are going on with online learning while others have planned to conduct online graduations,”

Said Magoha

“The government is ready to offer facilitation for all universities to have virtual content as face to face learning remains suspended.”

He urged quality and adherence to standards set by the Commission for University Education.

Online graduations

Currently,the only universities that have conducted online graduations include Dedan Kimathi, Riara and Egerton.

University of Nairobi’s 63rd graduation ceremony is expected to take place on September 25th.

Magoha said that the government was prompted to push reopening dates to January next year from September this year because many haven’t met the Health Ministry regulations.

“The remaining period of about five months is enough for universities and colleges to put in place measures to curb the spread of the viral disease,” he said.

University Requirements.

The CS hailed Maseno University for ensuring social distancing and urged the vice Chancellor Professor Julius Nyabundi to increase the number of water points and automatic sanitizer dispenser.

Maseno University Vice Chancellor,Professor Julius Nyabundi.

Among the things that institutions are required to have include;

  • Enough hand-washing points.
  • Thermo guns
  • Equipped isolation facilities
  • Protective gear
  • Face masks.

Measures must also be put in place to ensure regular cleaning of doors, door knobs, light switches as well as stair rails.

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Head teacher defiles a minor,hides.

Police officers in Kisii are in pursuit of a head teacher who is alleged to have defiled a 15 year old girl then fled.

The man identified as Innocent Ogega is the head teacher of Bendera Primary School.

He went into hiding upon realising that the young girl had exposed him.

Having received treatment from the hospital,the victim’s mother says that the doctors’ reports confirms that indeed the girl was defiled.

The matter was reported at Nyacheki Police Station and the Kisii police Boss Jebel Munene said investigations are underway.

“We are looking for the suspect who has since gone into hiding,” said Mr Munene adding that the matter was reported to police by the girl’s mother.

According to the mother,she went to attend to her milk selling business but upon returning home never found her daughter.

The girl came back home after several hours and when asked where she had been ,she said that she was with the suspect, who is also her uncle.

According to the police boss,the suspect gave the young girl ksh 1000 and warned her against exposing him.

After being questioned by the police,the girl admitted that this was the second time the man defiled her.

Mr. Munene expressed worry about the soaring cases of defilment. Kisii has recorded at least 50 such cases since March.

Government statistics also shows that about 10,000 teenage pregnancies have been recorded in the past 11 months.

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Update: Chiefs to identify teachers to offer lessons under Magoha’s ‘Nyumba Kumi’ framework.

Learners who have been so much engrossed in playing during the pandemic will from september be expected to be taught within their localities.

Professor Magoha said that this will be in addition to the online lessons that have been in progress.

The CS argued that not all learners are accessed to Radio ,TV or internet hence the need for communal teaching.

Community Based Model of teaching.

Teachers will be expected to utilise under-tree shades,open spaces and social halls to offer learning services to students and pupils as they await January opening.

Roles of Chiefs.

During his Thursday press briefing ,the CS said that chiefs and Nyumba Kumi leaders will be activated to identify teachers who will offer lessons at no cost to parents.

Regardless of schools attended by pupils/students,teachers who have been receiving their salaries since corona virus struck the nation will be expected to teach learners in their locality.

Magoha argued that unlike majority of private school learners who have greatly benefited from online lessons,their counterparts in public schools have not fully benefited.

He added that the ministry is working in close collaboration with Teachers Service Commision to come up with the guidelines.

“The commission will be issuing the guidelines in a few days’ time on the implementation of the programme,” TSC boss Nancy Macharia said. She added that teachers are always ready to offer their services.

Covid-19 guidelines

Teachers will in the new approach put students in small groups and ensure that they sanitize,keep distance and wear mask throughout the lessons.

All learners within a particular locality including those in private schools will be expected to attend.

The CS also said that teachers will also be expected to teach learners good morals so as to stop engaging in premarital sex ,drug abuse and other harmful behaviour.

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Teachers to teach at household level before schools re-open: Magoha

Education cabinet secretary Professor George magoha has announced that during this pandemic,teachers will offer services under frameworks similar to that of nyumba kumi.

In his address to the media today Thursday at the Kenya institute of curriculum development, he said that multi-agency team is set to map the country with the aim of having teachers offering lessons in their community.

“The teachers will teach values to learners under the Nyumba Kumi framework. TSC to issue guidelines on the new plan that will come at no cost to parents,” he said.

Education stakeholders noted that in as much as some lessons are being offered online ,some students cannot get access to the programmes.

The Ministry of Education and TSC, using a multi-agency approach, and in collaboration with chiefs and the Nyumba Kumi initiative, will implement a community-based learning approach where teachers will be mapped with learners to offer free learning.

The CS added that currently,the tertiary institutions are not ready for opening.

He said none of them will be opened till 2021 as the government continue to asssess  their readiness for opening.

He urged the universities to continue offering online teaching, examinations and even graduations.

“Universities should continue offering online programmes, including examinations and graduations.”

BOM Teachers Pay

Magoha further noted that funds meant for paying BOM teachers, security personnel and settling utilities have been set aside by the government.

The president in his monday address to the natiom called upon the CS to convene a meeting with stakeholders to discuss opening dates for schools.

Uhuru said any government institution, including all sporting facilities, stadia and educational institutions, upon designation by the Health CS as a public health facility, shall be availed to the ministry for isolation and quarantine purposes.

CS Magoha had previously announced that schools will re-open in 2021.

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Cotu Boss Francis Atwoli and Sossion on TSC Boss Nancy Macharia’s Neck over Salary Dispute.

Central Organisation of Trade Unions has called upon TSC to move with speed and solve the salary dispute that has emerged in the last phase of implementing the 2017-2021 TSC-KNUT Collective Bargaining Agreement.

COTU in a letter on Wednesday asked  Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui to convene a meeting and discuss the discriminatory pay rise and promotion of teachers by the teachers service commission (TSC )

The meeting will be attended by c o t u ,TSC and k n u t whose members never benefited from this month’s pay hike and promotions.

In the letter, Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli expressed worry over the ever increasing industrial dispute between Knut and the employer, which he said should be resolved once and for all.

“Indeed, if left unaddressed, the situation is likely to degenerate into a serious threat to the country’s industrial peace,” Mr Atwoli added.

KNUT on the other hand  asked the employer to stop sowing unnecessary confusion on the implementation of the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) pay structure by seeking to abolish the recognition of teachers’ new academic qualifications.

KNUT secretary General Wilson Sossion

The Union’s Secretay general Wilson Sossion said that attempts by the employer to abolish the Schemes of Service as the basis for promotion is tantamount to abolishing Teachers’ hard earned new academic qualifications.

“The commission should not sneak in the Career Progression Guidelines, which have been nullified by the Employment and Labour Relations Court, but should promote teachers using the Code of Regulations for Teachers,” he said on Wednesday while at the Knut headquarters in Nairobi.

sossion said that despite the commission being given 54 billion to pay and increase salaries for all teachers,it has resorted to using illegal means to discriminate K N U T members.

He said that based on the CBA ,K N U T members are qualified to be promoted and receive salary increment.

KNUT treasures warned that teachers should be kept out of the fight between TSC and the Union.

“It is so heart-breaking to see innocent teachers suffering and being discriminated against by the employer who is using illegal documents,” he said.

Mr. Matiangi called upon Preaident Kenyatta to convene a meeting with the two parties with a view to solving the stalemate.

He also accused TSC of forming splinter Unions with the aim of doing awy with KNUT.

“We cannot have an employer who uses bloggers to incite teachers to leave Knut and cripple operations of the union,” said Mr Matiang’i. 

At the time of signing the CBA, Mr Sossion said only the Schemes of Service existed, but TSC developed the Career Progression Guidelines independently and started implementing them illegally.

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Are schools and colleges opening any time soon? Uhuru clears the air.

President Kenyatta on 27th cleared doubts on reopening learning institutions.

He said that the government will give a clear roadmap soon.

He asked Education CS George Magoha to convene a meeting with stakeholders within Education docket in order to discuss how reopening of schools will be done.

“I want to clear the doubt and fear that parents have been having concerning our children and when schools, colleges and universities will reopen,” said President Kenyatta.

He said the stakeholders are to have a meeting soon after which the dates for reopening schools will be communicated.

Tertiary institutions were to open this coming September , but going by the preavailing conditions,some such as university of Nairobi have opted to reopen in January.

The Institutions’ heads have been tirelessly working to ensure that covid-19 mitigation measures are put in place ahead of re-opening.

Education CS and his team has been touring various institutions to assess their level of preparedness.

He had earlier said that Basic learning centres will resume learning in January.

Prof Magoha also anounced that National examinations ,KCPE and KCSE were pushed to November 2021.

Besides,he declared this year’s callender null and void and assured parents that the Institutions will resume where they stopped despite the online classes.

Tertiary institutions are required to put in place ministry of health measures before reopening.

Some of these include;

  • Foot operated
  • Automatic sanitiser
  • Dispensers
  • Gun thermometers
  • Equipped isolation facilities.
  • Protective gear
  • Face masks readily available within the institutions.

University chiefs are expected to ensure clean running water and soap for hand-washing, sanitisers and frequent cleaning and sanitising of frequently touched objects such as doors, knobs, light switches and stair railings.

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Schools will be uninhabitable upon reopening.Principals warns

The Kenya secondary school heads have warned that schools will be in a deplorable state upon reopening citing lack of funds.

The association said that the failure by the government to release school’s capitation funds compelled them to send away all supporting staff.

Some schools have gone to the extent of halting income generating projects within the school such as cattle rearing.

Due to lack of funds to pay the support staff,Several schools in Nakuru have advertised the sale of dairy cattle and pigs.

Properties worth millions in the learning institutions have been put at risk as security firms pulls out due to lack of pay.

Cases of theft and looting have already been reported in some schools.

Kessha Nakuru county chair Fredrick Mbuthia said that challenges faced by the schools keep risin’g each day.

He said that ever since schools were closed following the first case of covid-19 in Kenya,they have not received support funds from the government.

“Some schools which have income-generating projects have been forced to sell the assets as they are no longer viable during this period,” Mbuthia said.

He further said that the situation is worsened by the fact that majority, if not all teachers under BOM have not been paid.

He added that upon reopening, schools will be faced with pending bills worth millions due to the pandemic.

“Due to lack of funds, we cannot pay the statutory deductions, meaning a fine when we repay while paying for security services is a major problem,” he said.

The chair warned that if the the government does not intervene urgently the schools will be in a sorry state.

“Currently, schools are covered by bushes and electricity supply has been disconnected due to non-payment,” he said.

Stega Security Services managing director Eskimos Kobia admitted that despite offering security services to schools for months,they have not received any payment.

He said that the good will that his firm had, to guard schools for the first two months is currently impossible.

“We understand schools have not received funding from the government due to the current crisis and we have no option but to pull out,” he said.

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Roles of teachers in implementation of school re-opening guidelines ahead of 2021.

If Ministry of Education guidelines are adopted ahead of 2021 opening, the headteachers will be the major players in their implementation.

Finer details on full opening plan for primary and secondary schools indicate that teachers will play Major roles in successful reopening of schools.

Below are the roles :
Generally,the roles include plans to receive students during the opening day and ensuring their safety and hygiene While at School.

Roles of the head teachers will revolve around;
Instituting health and hygiene practices, putting in place procedures of handling suspected Covid-19 cases and at the same time
ensuring continued learning and review of schools daily routines.

Other teachers will be required to :
Enforce use face mask by a learners
and trainers
teachers, non-teaching staff and parents and visitors at all times within the school environment.

Develop movement protocols including designating entrances and exits for different learner cohorts, sectioned off common spaces, and floor markings to direct foot-traffic flow.

Carry out risk assessment for suitability focusing on space, water, sanitation, provision of meals, transport of learners and develop mitigation measures.

Sensitising parents and the entire communities on their role in ensuring health and safety of learners, trainees and staff.

Sensitising parents, non-teaching staff and community members on the importance of hygiene practices and social distancing both at homeand in institutions.

Constitute institutional Covid-19 response committees to coordinate response strategies.

Supply of adequate clean running water, liquid soap or hand sanitisers,
provision of mental health and psychosocial support for learners and staff members.

This means that assumption of learning next year is highly dependent on the competence of headteachers in implementation of the guidelines.

Head teachers will also :
See to it that the right class sizes are maintained to ensure adherence to social distancing.

They will therefore have to provide all the necessary infrastructure in accordance with the ministry of health guidelines

Renovation ,improvement, or installation of age, disability and gender appropriate hygiene facilities such as washrooms, toilets and bathrooms to ease prebent overcrowding.

Developing protocols on hygiene and social distance measures to be put in place before schools reopen

School heads will therefore be required to constantly supply the schools with
disinfectants, liquid soaps, non-touch thermometers, facemasks and first aid kits.

Availability of above and effecting the utilisation will however be the roles of teachers and not the Principal

Head teachers will also have to
re-adjust the institution budgets so as to reflect the current priorities addressing the impact of Covid-19 such as improved hygiene management.

Upon reaopening, school heads will be required to communicate to parents, teachers and learners on the health and safety measures put in place to guarantee their health and safety.

Other roles include:
Streamlining learner transport management systems to prevent transmission of infections

Provision of weekly progress reports on the status of institution health and safety

Designating special rooms within the school to be used as isolation centres commonly known as sick bays .

Equiping institution’s sick bays/clinics with basic supplies to cater for emergencies paying special attention to learners with disabilities and those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma

Identifying learner, teacher non-teaching staff with pre-existing health conditions and ensuring that proper health attention is given.

Monitoring School attendance and recording
absenteeism in liaison with Ministry of Interior and to minimise dropouts.

Collaborating with the Ministry of Health through the sub-county education office to map quarantine centres to at least one per sub-county in case of re-occurrence of the outbreak.

Ensuring adequate security and safety measures such as  provision of a fence or barrier and guards to restrict entry to and exit from the institutional premises.

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