WHO Weighs in on Kenya’s School Re-opening Stalemate

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A file photo of WHO regional director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti
  • The World Health Organisation on Thursday, August 20, urged African Countries- Kenya included- to expedite the re-opening of schools, arguing that most children were suffering in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The international body indicated that negative effects of the extended education disruption were significant as poor nutrition, stress, increased exposure to violence and exploitation, childhood pregnancies had been witnessed across the continent.

    According to a survey by WHO and UNICEF, only six countries of the 39 in sub-Saharan Africa, were fully open.

    A file photo of WHO regional director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti
    Salvatore Di Nolfi—AP

    WHO regional director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti stated that schools paved way for success for many Africans as well as provided a safe haven for children in challenging situations.

    “We must not be blind-sided by our efforts to contain Covid-19 and end up with a lost generation. Just as countries are opening businesses safely, we can reopen schools.

    Weigheing in on the matter, UNICEF regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mohamed M. Malick Fall, indicated that the long-term impact of extending the school shutdown caused harm to the children’s future.

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    “When we balance the harm being done to children locked out of schools, and if we follow the evidence, it leads children back into the classroom,” Malick stated.

    Back home, parents, in a demand letter by lawyer Harrison Kinyajui, gave Education CS George Magoha an ultimatum to reopen schools.

    They accused him of discriminating against children on the basis of their age, yet adults were conducting business as usual. 

    However, while responding to them, the Education CS stated that only President Uhuru Kenyatta had the powers to dictate when schools would reopen.

    “More than 100,000 schools remain closed across the country, but the decision to reopen them lies with President Uhuru, he is the one to decide whether he can take the risk,†he stated.

    “Others who have rushed have had to walk backwards, look at South Africa and America, kids have died, over 100,000 kids got infected in the US when they reopened, we do not want that,” he added.

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    Education CS George Magoha addresses university Vice-Chancellors during a stakeholders' meeting at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi on August 12, 2020
    Education CS George Magoha addresses university Vice-Chancellors during a stakeholders’ meeting at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi on August 12, 2020
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  • Source: KENYAGIST.COM

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