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Magoha defends excluding teachers from committee on Covid-19

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has defended his decision to exclude teachers from the nine-member Covid-19 Education Response Committee.

Speaking while on an inspection tour of Ruiru Girls’ High School in Kiambu, Prof Magoha said it was not a must for everyone to be included in the committee.

“I have formed the committee which might not be perfect but it has been formed. And we have said any other person can be able to give us what they think should be done,” Prof Magoha said.

“So it is not a matter of everybody else being there. If you want to ask if the union is represented then the answer is yes, we have put one unionist who should coordinate all the others,” he added.

The Education CS noted that for schools to be reopened a number of factors must first be considered to ensure safety of students in the face of Covid-19 pandemic.

These include making sure the schools have clean running water at all times and ability to maintain a one metre social distance in class and in dormitories.

“In case we are thinking about reopening, we shall need a situation where there is flowing water in most schools. We must also think to keep the social distance of one metre and therefore having six double-deckers in a cubicle is something that we shall have to reconsider. So that if a child is staying and is infected she cannot infect the child that is a metre away from her,” the CS explained.

In a past interview, Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Wilson Sossion had demanded that a slot in the committee be allocated to the union.

“We must sit in the task force of Covid-19, otherwise we are joining the global community of teachers in rejecting any hurried reopening of schools, lives of teachers and students is paramount,” Sossion said.

“We shall not accept any directive to reopen schools without proper engagement with the ministry, and we shall insist on complying with the check list provided by Unicef,” he added.

The nine-member committee was formed by Prof Magoha to craft a back-to-school roadmap and advise on steps to take in a education sector paralysed by Covid-19.