Dear President Uhuru, Please redeem the year 2020 for our students

Dear President Uhuru, Please redeem the year 2020 for our students

By Cyprian Nyamwamu via FB


I am appealing to President Uhuru to hear the cries of Kenyan parents and students and kindly save our families from the psychological effects of having our students retaking the classes they are in next year.
Children (learners) should not retake or repeat classes next year. We just need to review the traditional ways of teaching so that we cover the content together.. let those in class 5 for example go to class 6, those in form 1 go to Form 2 in January.. spend first term covering class 5 work and term 2 and three covering class 6 work and so on.

I propose this because no one has assured us that COVID-19 disease will be no more in January 2021. This pandemic may be with us for years yet we have lost term 2 and 3 of 2020. We can redeem it.
For the candidates, our recommendation which was the recommendation to the MoE task force is this; in September let only the KCPE and KCSE candidates go back to school, observe social distancing so that you have a maximum of 15 of them in a classroom so that we prepare them to take their exams in February 2021 and then proceed to Form 1 in April. The Form 1 students shall have progressed to Form 2.

Let the children take monthly breaks of three days while staying on school being visited in school (for those in boarding schools); review the place and structure of homework for Primary schools learners and refine testing methods. Review the term breaks of three weeks. Just make it one week with the monthly breaks of three days we have suggested.

We should take all the neccesary measures to ensure our children do not lose a whole year for circumstances they didn’t cause and yet they had covered Term 1 in full except for a week or two. Some of you have been asking #wherethechildren are rushing to. No they are not rushing to a place, we are enabling them to learn and save us parents the cost we put into their education. My daughter in Class 8 wants to be in Form 1 so that she progresses forward and avoid suffering the psychological consequences of lagging which include lack of concentration, dropouts, bad behaviour, losing interest, demotivation etc. Candidates we have interviewed especially the Form Four class are mostly distressed and feel that it is unfair to be told to wait till end of year 2021 yet they have been reading for the exams including on the Form 2 and 3 materials right from 2020 January. And we have already spent for her class 8 studies. Their education costs money. Let us not be pretentious. The argument that children are better alive than in school is unfounded. Their staying at home with little space, activity, interaction with age mates etc is proving very expensive to the children and home is not a sure place for their safety from the COVID-19 menace anymore by the way.

I am hearing what the children are saying and asking. Government should not continue to manage things using a software that is not updated. Think creatively.
President Kenyatta kindly ask Prof Magoha to be open to dialogue. This not just an education matter alone but primarily a health crisis with socioeconomic and psychological impacts.

As a parent to many children in school (I doubt if the CS and PS have 8-4-4 school going children) I urge the President to ask the MoE to consult all stakeholders. The Task force largely agreed with our views. Talk to parents and children. I have spoken to many. Turns out the negative psychological effects of retaking a class are worse. We are in extraordinary circumstances let’s do things using innovative methods to cover lost time. It is actually against faith, my faith as a Christian to have my children repeat, retake, a whole year of something.. yet they didn’t fail.. in Kenya the 100% transition is meant to address this cruelty of forcing learners to repeat things. Learners dislike things that make them repeat. It’s a generational injustice. No country in the world has recommended such measures. None. Let schools open in January but learning must be handled differently beginningfrom this September for the candidates. What are teachers doing between now and January if not to plan covering the material differently?

Cyprian Orina-Nyamwamu
Future of Kenya Foundation Think Tank

Dear President Uhuru, Please redeem the year 2020 for our students


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