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CS Magoha: Each class will have not more than 20 learners

Only 15 to 20 pupils will be allowed to sit in one classroom once learning resumes in September, according to Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha.

This will potentially leave millions of school-going children without learning facilities.

Prof Magoha said experts from the ministry of health had advised that classrooms, which usually hold an average of 45 learners, be decongested to curb infections and spread of the coronavirus.

“We’ve been advised by the ministry of health that a class should have between 15 and 20 students. Therefore you all know this is going to be a big challenge because schools do not have sufficient learning facilities” he said.

The country has about 24 million primary and secondary school-going children and this social distancing health requirement means more than 15 million may be forced to learn under trees.

Some schools, especially in urban centres, have classes bursting with pupils numbers exceeding 70, making it a nightmare for education authorities.

Prof Magoha expressed concern that it will be a tall order for the government to accommodate all the learners in the existing school facilities.

The CS said the government was racing against time to ensure schools have the necessary health equipment including sanitisers, thermal guns and handwashing tanks before the planned September reopening.

He spoke in Kitui County when he toured the Kitui County Textiles Centre (Kicotec) to assess its capacity to manufacture quality face masks for school children.

“The government has started assessing the preparedness of schools across the country by inspecting the existing facilities and we’re also aware that there are some schools which lost facilities due to floods and wind,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 1 asked the Education and Health ministries to chart a road map towards reopening the institutions of learning.

Of concern, though, is that the increasing number of cases in the country is a sign that the virus is not under control yet.