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Economy

Decision on reopening of schools to be made next week

Education cabinet secretary George Magoha
Education cabinet secretary George Magoha. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The final decision on schools reopening will be announced next week amid a drop in Covid-19 cases and increased lobbying by private school owners.

Education cabinet secretary George Magoha said Monday Education stakeholders are relooking at the reopening dates based on available facts and the prevailing circumstances.

New Covid-19 cases in the country continue to drop, with Kenya only four days away from reaching the 14-day straight positivity rate of under five percent that will mean the curve has been flattened.

“A mega stakeholders' meeting is slated on or before September 25 and will interrogate proposals from the smaller stakeholders before a decision is made,” he said.

Prof Magoha made the remarks after a closed-door education stakeholders’ consultative conference that deliberated on school reopening modalities.

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Over the last week, private school owners have heightened lobbying, saying the government reconsiders reopening dates.

The ministry shelved plans for phased reopening initially set to start this month after parents expressed reservations following a rising Covid-19 infection curve towards the date.

In July, Prof Magoha announced that all basic learning institutions will re-open in January next year when the virus curve is expected to have flattened.

He however noted that the decisions are not cast on stone and may change “as informed by reports from the Ministry of Health, prevailing circumstances and increased knowledge of the covid-19”.

President Uhuru Kenyatta closed schools in March indefinitely after Kenya confirmed Covid-19 cases within its border.

The move has pushed private schools to a financial crisis as they struggle to pay their rent and staff salaries.

Private schools entirely depend on the school fees paid by parents, meaning that many of the institutions could cease to exist if restrictions by government are not eased.

President Kenyatta is expected to issue new guidelines by the end of this month as part of reopening the economy that has slowed down since March.

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