The government will use the reopening of Technical and Vocational Education Training institutions (TVETs) slated for September as a model to evaluate the safety levels in learning institutions and form the basis for opening of primary and secondary schools across the country in January 2021.
Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Education Prof. George Magoha said TVETs in Kenya will be the national yardstick for determining how learning can resume safely and gradually.
The institutions will also be used to gauge the level of compliance with the set health protocols in schools to ensure learners’ safety in schools.
Speaking at Coast Institute of Technology (CIT) in Voi on Wednesday during a meeting for technical institution managers from Coast region, the CS stated the reopening of technical institutions in September will be in phases based on parameters including the number of students each institution can accommodate to ensure directives on social distancing are adhered to.
“The success of reopening in our technical training institutions will give us a basis to be used when considering the resumption of classes for children in primary and secondary schools,” he said.
The CS was accompanied by Principal Secretary, Technical Education Dr. Julius Jwan, Chief Administrative Secretary Zack Kinuthia and Director of Technical Education Tom Mulati among other senior education officials.
In the September reopening, managers for technical institutions will determine the courses that will be handled in each phase with priority being given to candidate classes.
The Ministry of Education said that the staggering of classes and courses offered in those institutions is meant to provide adequate room for social distancing and avoid overcrowding especially in institutions with boarding sections.
Challenges and gaps reported from institutions will be addressed enabling experts to seek solutions to such hurdles should they occur after opening of primary and secondary schools in January.
The CS said that parents and guardians who had paid full academic year tuition fees should get a refund for money paid for second and third terms, which have been scrapped from the 2020 academic calendar.
He however clarified that no one should demand a fee refund for term one, which he said, was over by the time learning was suspended in March due to Covid-19 outbreak.
“Those who had paid for term two and three can get a refund from their institutions or talk with schools to have the money pushed forward to cater for next year when we reopen,” he said.
In the last two weeks, the CS and his team have held consultative meetings with managers of technical institutions in readiness for September reopening.
Prof Magoha has already met managers from Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Nairobi, Central and Coast regions.
The CS said the government will not hesitate to shut down technical institutions should there be any risk of Covid-19 spread arising from failure of institutions to follow stipulated health directives.