Technical training institutes, varsities prepare to reopen

Friday July 03 2020

The entrance to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Siaya County, as pictured on March 5, 2020. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Technical training institutions and universities are racing against time to put in place Covid-19 safety measures as they prepare for reopening.

The measures include expanding learning facilities to ensure social distancing. Many have formed teams to reorganise timetables.

Some have established Covid-19 surveillance and emergency response teams that will liaise with the sub-county response committees in prevention efforts.

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology VC Stephen Agong said the institution is considering a phased readmission of students.

“We plan to open gradually, starting with final-year students. The 6,000 learners cannot be at the main campus at once,” Prof Agong said.

He added that workers and visitors must have their temperatures taken, don masks and be sanitised before being allowed into the university.


The VC said the institution has begun producing hand sanitiser.

Maseno University has installed hand sanitiser dispensers at hostels, administration blocks, lecture halls and other areas.

Maseno VC Julius Nyabundi said social distancing would be enforced when students arrive.

“We need to extend e-learning to the more than 20,000 campus-based students,” he said.


University communications chief Owen McOnyango said students would be at liberty to attend face-to-face or online classes.

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kakamega, is also banking on its virtual platform to promote learning.

Open distance and e-learning director Gordon Nguka said the service now has more than 23,000 registered students and teaching staff from the initial 5,000.

The university senate held a meeting yesterday to discuss the September opening preparedness.

Acting VC Solomon Shibairo and acting Academic Registrar Thomas Sakwa promised to give details of the meeting later.


Sigalagala National Polytechnic acting principal Catherine Kelonye said the management has met several times to discuss the reopening of the institution, starting with those who registered for tests in March. The reporting date for this group is mid-August.

The next batch of students will report in September and sit exams in December or January.

Bushiangala Technical Training Institute head Janet Otuya said its managers are meeting to discuss the opening date as directed by Education CS George Magoha.

At Ugenya Technical Institute, instructors have been assembled to reorganise the timetable.

Its principal John Abuto said the institution would have fabricating washing bays for

“We hope to have a Covid-19 surveillance team,” Dr Abuto said.

He said a team would arrive at the institution to train teachers on Covid-19 containment measures two weeks before opening.

At Rongo University, VC Samuel Gudu said visits would be minimised after reopening.

He, however, said preventing the spread of the pandemic would not be easy.

“Our students are many. That means lectures have to be rescheduled. Accommodation will be a challenge,” Prof Gudu said.


Keroka Technical Training Institute is putting final touches on new buildings in an effort to improve accommodation for its 3,400 learners.

Mr Evans Bosire, the principal, said four new classrooms and two workshops should be ready by the time the institution opens.

Similar preparations are on at Friends College Kaimosi, which has more than 3,000 students and Sabatia Technical and Vocational Training Institute.

Both institutions are in Vihiga County.

Others are Mawego Technical Training Institute in Rachuonyo North and Omuga Technical and Vocational Training Institute in Homa Bay. Mawego has 3,800 learners while Omuga has 442.

Report by Victor Raballa, Benson Amadala, Derick Luvega, Benson Ayienda, Ian Byron and George Odiwuor