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Virtual learning the way to go in Covid-19 era, CS Magoha says

Saturday August 01 2020
Magoha

Education CS George Magoha gestures during a press briefing on August 1, 2020 after inspecting Maseno University in Kisumu University ahead of the reopening of universities in January 2021. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VICTOR RABALLA

Universities should scale up their online learning as they prepare for reopening next year, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has said.

Prof Magoha said on Saturday that virtual learning is the only adequate response to the extraordinary circumstances that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented, including suspension of learning for over six months.

“Up to 70 per cent of our universities are going on with online learning while others have planned to conduct online graduations,” he said at Maseno University in Kisumu County after assessing its preparedness.

“The government is ready to offer facilitation for all universities to have virtual content as face to face learning remains suspended.”

He urged quality and adherence to standards set by the Commission for University Education.

GRADUATIONS

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So far, Dedan Kimathi, Riara and Egerton universities are the only ones that have held virtual graduations.

University of Nairobi’s 63rd graduation ceremony is expected to take place on September 25th.

Prof Magoha said the government pushed the reopening from September as most universities were yet to meet safety standards set by the Ministry of Health.

“The remaining period of about five months is enough for universities and colleges to put in place measures to curb the spread of the viral disease,” he said.

He noted that a survey by the Education Ministry on Teacher Training Colleges, Technical Vocational Education and Training Institutions as well as universities showed that only a few of them have complied with protocols for fighting the virus.

UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS

While praising Maseno University for ensuring sufficient distancing in lecture halls, the CS asked Vice-Chancellor Julius Nyabundi to increase the number of water points and automatic sanitiser dispensers.

Institutions must have enough hand-washing points, preferably foot-operated, thermo guns, equipped isolation facilities, protective gear and face masks.

University chiefs are also required to regularly clean and sanitise items such as doors, door knobs, light switches and stair rails.

They must also ensure adequate space for distancing and put up signs giving people directions on curbing the disease.

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