As the date for mass reopening of schools nears, the government has kicked off a review exercise on the schools’ physical structures
President Uhuru Kenyatta had during an address on November 12 – directed a committee by the ministries of Education and that of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development – to issue a new set of building guidelines for school infrastructure.
On November 30, the committee released a preliminary statement with proposals on how to meet the directive from the head of state.
The joint committee proposed to adopt cheaper and safe alternative construction materials, away from the stone-walled structure which is considered to be expensive.
The proposals including using bricks, hollow blocks, interlocking bricks and expanded polystyrene (EPS) technology.
EPS is a new cost-effective wave in house construction which entails building homes by assembling ready-made EPS panels, sandwiched between a wire mesh that is sealed on both sides with concrete.
Already, homeowners have embraced the technology which ensures cost savings of around 25% – while construction time is cut by half as the panels come ready for installation.
The teams further proposed that schools be able to purchase materials such as cement, paint and iron sheets at a subsidised cost.
The president during his November address stated the new guidelines would enable the government have standardized bills of the quantity that will guarantee value for taxpayers’ money.
“Ministries of Education and Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development are directed to issue a new set of building guidelines for school infrastructure that allows use of appropriate and cost-effective building technologies suited to the varied geographies,” the President directed.
The Ministry of Education is on a tight schedule to ensure schools around the country are suitable for students as it is in the process of delivering 622,157 desks, chairs and lockers to public primary and secondary schools.
Ksh1.9 billion was allocated to the project with Ksh1 billion set to go towards making 359,450 desks for secondary schools while Kh900 million for 262,707 desks, lockers and chairs in primary schools.
President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that learners who are still at home would resume classes in January 2021, amid uncertainty brought forth by the coronavirus pandemic.