Professor Magoha Face Opposition from Private Schools and Institutions

  • Private school owners find it hard to survive with the education guidelines on school re-opening.
  • Private institutions claims to be left out on the decision made on schools re-opening. 

The Education Cabinet Secretary professor George Magoha’s statement on the prolonged closure of the private institutions has raised eyebrows. Simply because of  the financial paralysis within the private sector.Most private institutions rely on the payment of school fees for them to pay workers and run various operations within the institution.
The reaction arose after the government announcement made on Thursday, 30th July 2020, to suspend all the learning that was to resume in September. The Covid-19 Emergency Education Task-force decided in line with the Ministry of Health to fight COVID-19. For instance, they were based on the projections that the infections will reach its peak mid-September.

Survival of Tutors Directed to Loans

“We have a total of 260,000 students in private TVETs with thousands of tutors who handle them. The total number of institutions is 217. The institutions have been on closure since March. As a result, the survival of the teachers and other support staff up to now is on loans. Because of this, tutors might die not of COVID-19 but due to hunger. Besides, private schools are facilitated by school fees paid by the students.” Says Ekrah Ndung’u the secretary of the Kenya National Private Colleges (Kenapco).
He further said that opening in January would make the private institutions have huge debt as their survival will be tough. Most of those employed in the private sector depend entirely on the school fees, and as at know, they have no cash.
Consequently, most of the tutors are not able to pay their rent. Most of the private premises are not able to pay for their rental places. She added that the institutions couldn’t access the bank since they already have pending loans.

Did the Task Force Team Consider the Survival of Private Institutions?

Educational team
Educational Team on schools reopening. Photo Courtesy

“We have applied for loans to comply with the ministry of health guidelines on managing COVID-19. Even though the decision did not consider our members, we should be allowed to have faced re-opening where those candidates who want to sit for the exams may do so.” Says Ms. Ndung’u.
Equally important, she said that the government should make decisions that involve investors in different sectors. Therefore ensuring the protection of the private sector as it has actively participated in employment of many Kenyans.
For instance, she said that most of the colleges could hold a considerable capacity of students by observing the social distance rule.
“When learning institutions were closed on 16th March, some of our students were sitting for the Kenya National Examination Council. It makes sense to allow them and other finalists to finish writing the tests. Covid-19 will be with us for sometimes,” she added.
According to the education sector board Chairperson of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance Mutheu Kasanga, the push to open schools 2021 January is punitive because private institutions depend on the school fees entirely to pay for the employees and its operation.
She added, “Public universities rely on the government for capitation while the private sector depends on school fees. We need to leapfrog the education sector and think of innovative ways of engaging our learners during this pandemic period.”
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Besides, some private primary and high schools have already been shut down. As a result, several teachers are committing suicide. Not because of COVID-19 but due to the lack of rent and inability to give their families basic needs. The proprietors foresee failure to re-opening their institutions come January due to this financial paralysis.

Private School Teachers Rendered Jobless and Helpless

Since March, teachers and tutors in private institutions face difficulties in their financial life. Peter Ndoro, the Chairman of the Private School Association, recognized that teachers have it rough with no salary at all.
“We employ around 150,000 teachers who haven’t got paid for months now. We agree with the government on its stands of protecting our children. But, it should also look at the ways of helping us navigate through this pandemic period. He said.

Final Thought

The ministry of education is following and complying with the Cabinet of Health guidelines to cub the COVID-19 effects and spread. The re-opening entirely depends on the flattening and dropping of the corona curve.

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