Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on Thursday, July 30 confirmed details of a communal learning program targeting students stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new program will see classes undertaken under trees, in social halls and other community spaces with teachers on the government payroll leading lessons.
It is set to begin in September, and has been widely perceived as a shift away from the digital learning program which has left many learners from low-income backgrounds disenfranchised.

Community figures including Nyumba Kumi leaders and Chiefs will be involved in coordinating the program and finding teachers, with schools set to re-open in January 2021.
The program is also meant to level the playing field between children in public schools and their private school counterparts. The communal learning program will, however, be open to students from both public and private schools.

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Many parents with children in private schools have enrolled their children for online classes, while some have come together to form small groups paying teachers to educate their children.
“Although the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) continues to provide remote learning through radio, television and online programs, there are some children who are unable to access them,” Magoha stated after a meeting with KICD officials on July 30.

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Notably, teachers will be expected to serve in their home areas for the communal classes and not necessarily around the school they are stationed at.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) boss Nancy Macharia confirmed that the body was formulating guidelines for teachers who have been on full salary since the onset of the pandemic to take on the challenge.
The communal classes will see teachers tasked with putting learners in small groups, ensuring they wear face masks, and observe social distance.

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Magoha also noted that teachers would be advised to inculcate moral values as they teach, citing the worrying surge in teenage pregnancies with learners at home.

He made the announcement following a stakeholders’ meeting to review the impact of Covid-19 measures on education.

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