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How to Prepare For School Reopening

  • Students across the country are set for the full resumption of learning on Monday, January 4, 2021, after a majority have been out of class for nine months.

    Grade 4, Class 8 and Form 4 students may have a smoother transition after resuming classes back in October 2020 to prepare for their national exams.

    However, a majority of parents and guardians will have to grapple with the rising costs of providing basic education amid a global pandemic that has impacted the incomes of millions of people in Kenya.

    There are five major factors that parents will need to consider as their children go back to school after months of disruption:  

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    Education CS George Magoha addresses the media in October 2020

    File

    1. School Fees

    The government is yet to issue a substantive, final directive on the issue of school fees after most parents asked the Ministry of Education to cater for the tuition fees.

    With schools having been closed for months, private institutions will likely increase fees to recover from lost income and sufficiently cover the costs of running the schools in the coming months.  

    There might be a reprieve for parents with students in public schools as the government revised the child capacitation on an upward of Ksh152.1 Billion with Ksh73.1 Billion set to be used in 2021 and Ksh78.9 billion used in the following year.

    However, parents should expect an influx of students in public schools.

    Education CS Prof George Magoha had urged parents to transfer their children to public schools if the fees in private schools are beyond reach. He also urged private schools to consider the unique circumstances of the year 2020 as they discuss with parents new fees guidelines.  

    In October, Magoha had advised parents to pay what they could to facilitate the education of their children.

    “Parents are taking advantage, please take the little money that you have to school. If you go with nothing, you will have to be interrogated. If you can pay, then you must pay,” he stated.

    Savings accumulated over the course of the year when parents barely paid school fees could go a long way to settle the back-to-school obligations.

    Kenyan Currency notes.

    Kenyan Currency notes.

    File

    1. Shopping

    The back to school shopping list is set to increase with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing parents to dig deeper into their pockets.

    Parents can plan to buy stationary including exercise books, writing materials, mathematical sets and calculators earlier to beat the last-minute rush that usually comes with a higher cost of commodities.   

    Uniforms and shoes are perhaps one of the costs that most parents will have to incur with some of the children outgrowing their barely used ones in 2020.

    Students in boarding schools will require personal effects such as toothpaste, shoe polish, soap, toothbrush and utensils where the school does not provide.

    A shopping trolley at a supermarket

    A shopping trolley at a supermarket

    File

    1. Additional Costs

    Students in both boarding and day schools should factor in an increase in transport charges due to new social distance rules that have seen the reduced capacity of public service vehicles and school buses and vans.   

    Parents will also need to consider if they will use public or private transport as they take extra caution when sending their children to school.  

    As students report to school, some of the parents will have to set aside more pocket money especially for students in boarding schools.

    Education CS George Magoha visiting a school in 2019.

    Education CS George Magoha visiting a school in 2019.

    The Standard

    1. Hygiene Sanitisation

    The Ministry of Education announced that they will only provide two washable facemasks to students after schools reopen.

    The facemasks, however, failed to reach every school in the country which meant parents were to bear the cost of providing face masks.  

    However, President Uhuru Kenyatta revealed that the Government is set to offer facemasks, soap and sanitisers to learners at the cost of Ksh2.1 Billion in a move that will come as a relief to parents.

    Parents were however encouraged by Magoha to buy extra facemasks and sanitizers to help curb the spread of Covid-19 in schools.

    Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga branding donated sanitizers with his photo on April 9, 2020.

    Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga branding donated sanitizers with his photo on April 9, 2020.

    The Standard

    1. School Registration 

    Parents will have to confirm if the schools their children were enrolled in before the pandemic are still in operation.

    With Covid-19 ravaging many sectors of the economy, schools were also affected with hundreds of private schools closing down. 

    The Kenya Private Schools Association in June 2020 announced that 114 private schools had closed permanently, with 300 more likely to cease operations due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Parents whose students attended schools that were closed will have to transfer their children to new schools.

    An image of Whistling Thorn

    Whistling Thorn School in Kawangware, Nairobi that was converted into a residential apartment since the closure of schools back in March.

    Twitter

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