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Kibra MP Okoth urges govt to protect elderly teachers as schools reopen in Kenya

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – Kibra Member of Parliament Imran Okoth has urged the Government to put in place measures that will guarantee the safety of elderly teaching workforce who are vulnerable to COVID-19.

Okoth made the pea Saturday as schools in Kenya prepared to reopen following closure in March when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the country.

Okoth said the elderly workforce was more exposed due to their vulnerability as compared to their younger counterparts.

Schools in Kenya will reopen from Monday following closure in March 2020 when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the country.

“My only request to the Ministry of Education is to look at the welfare of teachers, we have an elderly workforce, they need to look at them, we have seen a few of them affected and we are very much concerned with their welfare,” the legislator said when he visited Kibera Secondary School in Nairobi to inspect construction work.

He said the government should not leave out teachers while focussing on the safety of the children.

“We are looking forward to having our students resume learning, they have been at home interacting with each other and we have seen they have not been majorly affected by the pandemic,” he said.

Kenya reopened schools partially in October 2020 for Form 4, Class 8 candidates and Grade 4.

Okoth, who was elected following the death of his brother, Ken Okoth had pledged to continue with his late brother’s education legacy by completing construction of Kibera Secondary School after assuming office.

“We were looking forward to completing the school last year but we were affected by the pandemic and could not complete it, we hope we will be able to complete and handover in the first or second week of January,” the MP added.

Okoth further urged school boards to be more lenient to parents who cannot afford to pay school fees for their children even as he acknowledged the challenge posed by insufficient funding to schools.

“Most parents have lost their source of income during the difficult year but they have to take their children back to school, I know it is going to be difficult to manage schools without finances but we must have students back to schools and the education up and running,” he added.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha who had also inspected the premises to assess preparedness ahead of the reopening warned school heads against sending learners away over fees.

 “There are Kenyans who may have a little challenge to come with exact fees for the boarding house, can we deal with them humanely, and those who cannot afford at all, let us understand, you cannot send them home to do nothing,” Magoha said.

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