A court has ordered Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to urgently hold a meeting among players in the education sector before schools reopen next week.
Yesterday, High Court Judge James Makau issued the order following an application by a parent claiming that Prof Magoha has announced reopening of schools on Monday next week, without giving proper guidelines on how learners will be protected from coronavirus.
“The Education Cabinet Secretary or his representatives should invite all parties in the education sector within the shortest possible time to reach a settlement on the issue of reopening schools,” ruled Justice Makau.
THE JUDGEMENT METED OUT WAS AS FOLLOWS
IN COURT ELECTRONICALLY ON 6TH OCTOBER, 2020 BEFORE HON. MR. JUSTICE J. A. MAKAU (ORDER)
THIS MATTER coming up for mention for directions before Hon, Mr. Justice J. A. Makau electronically on 6th October 2020 AND UPON HEARING the Counsel for the Petitioners, Counsel for the Respondents and Counsel for the 1 Interested Party_AND IN THE ABSENCE OE Counsel for the 2 to 7 Interested Party AND WHEREAS THIS MATTER is coming in Court electronically;
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
1) THAT the Respondents and the Interested Parties do file their responses together with their respective submissions within the next 3 working days from today.
2) THAT the CS Education or his representative to invite the parties in this Petition and stakeholders within the shortest possible time to constitute or reach settlement on the issues of reopening the school; on what conditions and when and report to this Court on or by 14 October 2020.
3) THAT the first meeting shall be held on 7 October 2020 and shall be convened by CS Ministry of Education at the headquarters Nairobi at Jogoo House.
4) THAT the Petitioner’s Counsel and Respondent’s Counsel and 1 Interested
Parties’ Counsel to be invited and be allowed to take part in the meeting.
5) THAT mention on 14/10/2020 to confirm the outcome of the meeting and filing if need be of the respective responses and submissions and for further directions.
6) THAT the Interim Orders are extended till then.
GIVEN under my Hand and the Seal of this Honorable Court this 6th day of October, 2020
The judge directed that a report detailing resolutions made during the meeting be filed in court within three days (before October 14).
Makau had previously stopped Magoha and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) from directing teachers to start community-based learning following a petition by a parent, Joseph Aura.
Mr Aura argued in his petition that it is unconstitutional to continue keeping children at home through an indefinite closure of schools while other countries, worst affected by coronavirus, have started reopening their institutions.
He argued there will be no difference between community-based learning set to start on September 1 and in-house school teaching since both lead to children gathering in one place.
Aura stated that since March 16 when President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the closure of all schools in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak, his three children have suffered psychological torture because of staying at home for a long duration without any justifiable reason.
According to Aura, Magoha has continually stated that schools will remain closed until next year without consulting parents, the National Education Board and County Education Boards to find a solution for the welfare of children.
“The CS has been violating the constitutional right of every child to free and compulsory basic education,” said Aura.
“He has deliberately and blatantly sabotaged the rights of millions of children who cannot access education.”
Yesterday, Makau granted the Ministry of Education and TSC three days to respond to the application before the hearing on October 14.