339 private schools permanently closed 1,247 staff laid off

The Kenya Private Schools Association has revealed that 1,247 teaching and non-teaching staff have been rendered jobless owing to the impact of COVID-19 on learning institutions.

Over 56,000 learners will have no schools to report back to on Monday next week after it emerged that 339 private schools have permanently closed down.

“We have a lot of challenges as private schools. One of them is the issue of finances to put up the necessary protocols to enable smooth reopening of schools,” KPSA Chairperson Patrick Ndoro said.

The association is also demanding that the government releases to schools the Ksh.7billion stimulus package it had pledged to private schools to cushion them against the adverse effects.

“We had been promised Ksh.7billion by the government which has not come to date, which has meant that private schools have had to look for very expensive credit facilities from commercial sources and this is going to make the cost of education at this point in time when we are sorting out the issues of COVID-19 to become expensive. This cost of course will have to be transferred to the parents,” Mr. Ndoro said.

Even as parents and pupils brace for the difficult task of seeking places in public schools, proprietors of two private institutions that had been converted into a poultry business are struggling to revive.

Mr. Joseph Maina is the proprietor of Mewa Brethren School in Kirinyaga. after the pandemic was reported in the country, he shut down the school and decided to keep poultry as a way of staying afloat.

He turned several classes into poultry houses and began selling chicken to raise funds to pay his teachers.

“Safari ya kufuga kuku haikuwa rahisi kwa sababu niliingia katika kazi ambayo mimi sijazoea na sijawahi fanya maishani mwangu,” Mr. Maina said.

The venture paid off but it is now time to prepare for reopening of schools. Citizen TV caught up with Mr. Maina as he was transferring his chicken to another location.

He is making plans to ensure that pupils will return and continue learning.

At Ndima Kanini Academy in Karatina, Nyeri County, the proprietor Lincoln Njogu had also been using some of the classrooms to keep chicken as it looked like schools would never reopen.

However on Wednesday, back to school preparations were underway with 11 additional classes already constructed.

CCTV cameras have been mounted to monitor children while learning and boreholes have been drilled to boost water supply.

Meanwhile, Education CS George Magoha has acknowledged that there will be a challenge in ensuring social distancing in schools.

He has however urged teachers to ignore politicians who are playing down efforts to reopen the schools.

“I want to plead with our gallant teachers to ensure that they become innovative. If the weather is as good as it is now, nothing stops the teacher from having classes outside in addition to others being inside the classroom,” Prof. Magoha said.

He also urged teachers to allow children back to school regardless of whether parents can afford fees immediately or later.

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