Former Rarieda MP Eng. Nicholas Gumbo has differed with the government’s plan to reopen schools in January amidst the rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.
Gumbo said that it would be a miracle for the government to reopen schools early next year as they were ill-prepared to contain the spread of the virus among students.
Last month, Education CS prof George Magoha announced that schools across the country would reopen in January 2021 following a spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
He observed that most learning institutions across the country have no adequate infrastructure that would aid in adherence to social distancing requirements yet the impending reopening of schools is less than six months away.
“For schools to safely reopen in January, they need additional classrooms and dormitories due to huge number of students. These may not be achievable within the short term remaining unless the government just wants to reopen the schools for the mere purpose of re-opening,” Gumbo stated.
Gumbo who is also the immediate former Kenyatta National Hospital Board chair said that unless the spread of coronavirus drops or is contained within the next few months, the government would have no basis to reopen schools.
“Let’s pray that this virus does not behave like the Spanish influenza which took two years to contain and hope that miraculously, cases of those infected starts to go down before January 2021 otherwise there will be no basis to reopen learning institutions and expose our children to the deadly virus,” Gumbo added.
The former legislator who speaking at Ndwara secondary schools where he had gone to lay a foundation for a new classroom stated that coronavirus has badly exposed mismanagement of funds meant for infrastructural development at the institutions.
Eng. Gumbo stated that with better management of infrastructural development funds, institutions in the country would have been better prepared to support learning during these period of corona virus as opposed to the way things are.
He cited that during his tenure that ended in 2017, he managed build two classrooms in Rarieda secondary school at a cost of Sh1.2 million while an ECD classroom in the neighbouring Rarieda primary school was constructed by Siaya county government at a cost Sh 5 million a year later.
“This disease has exposed how our institutions are unprepared in terms of infrastructure. If the funds availed by the government would have been used prudently, each institution should have more than enough infrastructure to containing rising student population especially during times of pandemic like now,” Gumbo stated.
He appealed to the elite in the society to support infrastructural development of schools in their home counties instead of waiting for the government to do everything.
Eng. Gumbo noted that day schools in the region were playing a key role providing opportunity for the underprivileged students to access secondary education while at the same time in uplifting local education standards.
Gumbo disclosed that in last year’s KCSE results, day schools in Rarieda Sub County sent 275 students to university and was only second to Alego Usonga Sub County with 311.
“Most of day schools admit about 85 per cent of students from the locality and therefore those privileged from the area should play a role in ensuring their growth in terms of infrastructure and improving education standards,” he said.
Eng. Gumbo has spearheaded the establishment and infrastructural development of Ndwara secondary schools in remembrance of his mother mama Dorcas Chek who hails from Ndwara village.
By Brian Ondeng’