Educationalists have warned that students will be forced to repeat classes if the coronavirus will persists for the next three months. According to major stakeholders in education, if the virus continues up to August then it could be impossible to make up for the lost time within the year and the possibility of losing the entire academic year is likely.
Statistics in the ministry of health indicate that the coronavirus cases may increase up to 5,000 by mid-April and it could rise even farther to 10,000 by May. This has prompted cautionary advice from the authorities against conversion of schools into treatment and isolation centres.
Should the worst case scenario unfold, learners would be forced to repeat classes as it would be impossible to recover lost time to complete the syllabus. Candidates would be compelled to wait longer to sit national examinations while universities would have to delay graduations.
Last week, Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) cancelled April certificate and diploma examinations for early childhood development and special needs education. The Council also directed all secondary school principals to wait until when schools reopen when they will be given fresh guidelines on how to conduct practical exams.
Akello Misori, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary-General also seems to read from the same script. Speaking to the journalists on Wednesday, he asked Kenyans to prepare for any eventuality. The giant teachers Union has consequently written to the ministries of Education, calling for postponement of national exams to later dates. This will allow the teachers complete the syllabus before learners write their exams.
Misori said, “It will not be business as usual and learning can be postponed for a year. This pandemic is as ambiguous as it is in the rest of the world. Exams test a curriculum based on completion of syllabus. If it is not covered, what will they be testing?”
In this year’s school calendar, the first term made up of fourteen week ought to have ended by April 10. This means that some four weeks of learning has been lost during first term alone. If learning resumes by 4th May, then according to Knec the earliest KCPE and KCSE national examinations can be administered is December.
In this year’s timetable for primary and secondary schools national exams, KCPE is scheduled to start on October 27. KCSE examinations written papers are expected to start on November 2, 2020.
With inadequate health facilities in the country, the government is set to convert around 20 boarding schools in each county into isolation centres for treatment of covid-19. These developments mean that no learning activities are expected to resume by May 4 when schools were expected to open for second term.
This leaves the likelihood of learning resuming immediately in second term at stake. The teachers argue that the said December examinations would only be possible if learning resumes early and the syllabus is covered.
The standard paper has reported today that if the cases go up as projected, then The Ministry of Health would not expect them to have reduced by end of August.
This means that second term would also have been wasted as learning would not have resumed.