Before opening schools,colleges, there is need for better planning

The University of Nairobi Main Campus in Nairobi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The president has instructed his team to ensure the coronavirus prevention requirements are met by schools and institutions of higher learning in readiness for reopening.

Every child knows that the key to success in their exams and getting good grades is adequate planning. 

The earlier one prepares for an exam or test, the better they will do. Revising and going over work cannot be rushed at the last minute, and someone who engages in this strategy is doomed to fail.

This has been proven again and again, in many facets and aspects of life, even outside of the classroom or examination hall.

The same is true for those in charge of our education system. In pre-coronavirus times, those who run or who are intrinsically part of the system, from the Cabinet secretary to the teacher in the classroom, all need to prepare in advance to achieve the best results for the system itself.

That is why President Uhuru Kenyatta is trying to clear up any misunderstandings, misgivings or concerns about opening up Kenya’s education institutions. He has stated that there will be a clear roadmap about how and when our schools and universities will be open again.

OPENING DATES

This is not just vital for teachers and pupils, but most importantly for parents. Without understanding when the institutions will open up again, it is difficult for parents to plan their days, especially those who are working and need to provide for their families. They need to have stability and a clear understanding of what lies ahead.

This is what President Kenyatta is seeking to do by planning ahead.

“I want to clear the doubt and fear that parents have been having concerning our children and when schools, colleges and universities will reopen,” said President Kenyatta recently.  

This is not only about opening dates, however, it is also about preparing our educational institutions for the new normal of learning in the shadow of the coronavirus. The president has instructed his team to ensure the coronavirus prevention requirements are met by schools and institutions of higher learning in readiness for reopening.

This will allow parents added levels of confidence that their children will not be placed into any danger.

This is why President Kenyatta has sent Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, and Principal Secretaries Simon Nabukwesi (University Education), and Dr Julius Jwan (Technical and Vocational Training) to tour universities and technical institutions to access their levels of preparedness.

These principles and others are ensuring that a checklist of measures necessary for reopening will be met. These include guaranteeing that protective gear and face masks are readily available within the institutions.  Furthermore, automatic sanitiser dispensers, preferably at the entrance to buildings, adequate hand-washing points for maximum hygiene, preferably foot operated, infrared thermometers and well-equipped isolation facilities, are all being examined in order to keep everyone safe and curb the spread of the Coronavirus.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

There also needs to be the possibility that students can keep social distancing, whether in the classrooms or outside of them, with good signage to remind all of the important of this measure.

This will be life for students, teachers and administration staff in all of our educational institutions, whether big or small. These are vital preconditions for the opening of any institution.

It is clear that none of this is around the corner and it might be a while before our children reenter their schools or universities, but that should not detract or distract from the need to prepare for the eventuality of their return.

It is just good sense to get ahead of this great national challenge and prepare for it accordingly.  In the days and weeks ahead, President Kenyatta will once again reassess the situation after speaking to his experts and people in the field to figure out a roadmap for the return of formal education.

Our children need this certainty, even if they do not want to admit it. However, the people most in need of this clarity are the parents, who need to have the facts laid out to them.

During this time when our children are at home, it is a useful period to lay down some life lessons.

I will certainly be making it clear that the key to success is planning and preparedness, and there is perhaps no greater example of this than our President, Uhuru Kenyatta. 

Patrick Mureu comments on matters of public interest. [email protected]