The government has allocated an additional Sh 19.5 billion for construction of more educational facilities in public schools as part of an ongoing grand scheme to address Covid-19 requirements and ease congestion occasioned by high enrollments.
Government Spokesman Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna observed that as schools reopen after a 10-month break occasioned by the pandemic, Sh14.9 billion had been disbursed to secondary schools for construction and equipping of more dormitories, classes, and other amenities to achieve social distancing among learners, while primary schools had already received Sh4.6 billion.
While addressing the media in Nakuru, Oguna said the government had hired 5,000 teachers on permanent and pensionable terms and further 12,000 on contract basis to ensure learners get the best quality of education against the backdrop of challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic.
The Spokesperson who was flanked by County Commissioner Erastus Mbui Mwenda said the Ministry of Education had disbursed 7.5 million face masks to public institutions that will be distributed to needy cases identified by school heads and management committees.
Oguna revealed that more than 5,000 pupils and students from 16 Schools flooded with water from Lakes Baringo and Bogoria have been relocated to other learning institutions to ensure they do not miss classes as schools reopen.
He stated officials from the Ministry of Education were on the ground collecting data on the affected schools, which will be used by both levels of government in coming up with a lasting solution.
Some of the affected schools are Loruk, Sokotei, Ng’ambo, Kiserian, Salabani and Lake Baringo primary and secondary schools. Others are Ng’enyin, Noosukro, Rugus, Lorok, Leswa, Sintaan and Lake Bogoria Primary Schools.
The Government spokesperson assured Kenyans that the state had put in place a comprehensive insurance cover for teachers in public institutions who may get infected with Covid-19, as a way of motivating them to discharge their duties effectively.
He intimated that teachers have been targeted to be among the first beneficiaries of the new vaccine against Covid-19 because the government considers them as front line workers.
He added that the government was committed to the protection and safety of our children while in school during the Covid-19 pandemic period.
Schools were closed in March 2020 last year when the first case of Covid-19 was detected in the country, but they were reopened partially in October 2020 for Form 4, Class 8 candidates and Grade 4.
An academic calendar issued by the Ministry of Education schedules the Pre-Primary 1 and 2; Grade 1, 2 and 3; Class 5, 6 and 7; and Form 1, 2 and 3 learners to start their Term 2 on 4th January, 2021 and end on 19th March 2021 together with the Grade 4 and candidate classes (Class 8 and Form 4) who opened last year in October.
By Jane Ngugi/Dennis Rasto