Learners displaced by floods should be hosted by neighbouring schools, says KNUT boss

KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu wades through a flooded area as he visited schools ahead of Monday's reopening. He stands with the government on reopening some schools on Monday.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has welcomed the government’s decision to reopen schools despite the ravaging floods across the country, nevertheless suggesting that schools badly affected by the disaster should be accommodated in  neighbouring institutions.

KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu said the continued closure of schools was going to affect the learning calendar as witnessed during the Covid-19 period, pointing out that not all schools are in the same predicament as those that have been marooned by floods.

“I have visited a school which was submerged yet the neighbouring one was okay and hosting those displaced by floods,” he said, insisting that learners affected can be transferred to neighbouring schools.

He pointed out that the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) cannot be fully relied on to sufficiently rehabilitate the affected schools.

“Let us not stop at CDF alone. The MoE should use the infrastructure funds to improve on schools which have been dilapidated by the torrential rains,” Oyuu said.

“Learners in 2020 lost a lot of time due to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Addressing the press in Kisumu, Oyuu said he has done assessments in the 110 branches across the country and established that 90 per cent of schools can be reopened.

He called on the Ministry of Education (MoE) to conduct mapping in schools to assess the condition of the remaining ones.

Oyuu goes through flooded fields near and around schools to assess the situation on the ground before reopening on Monday.

Oyuu is accompanied by locals and teachers on a tour of one of the schools in Nyando. There is no respite in some of the schools like this one.

He also called on well-wishers to help in the reconstruction of schools which have been affected.“This is the time to show your statesmanship in terms of matters success of education in this country which has actually been affected,” Oyuu said.

Based on his assessments in various schools, Oyuu said, latrines in some schools have sunk while other infrastructure has collapsed.

He singled out Ahero Girls in Nyando, Kisumu County, which he visited, where reopening will be delayed.

Oyuu also supported the extension of the school calendar to enable teachers and learners recover the lost time.

“Our teachers are very dedicated and we have faith in them to cover the syllabus on time. They did it during the Covid-19 and all shall be well,” he said.

Last week, Machogu said 2,155 schools may not reopen for the second term even after President William Ruto’s order that learning resumes on May 13.

The schools are spread across seven counties, including Tana River, Homa Bay and Kisumu.

He said these areas continue to experience flood-related challenges and will require a lot more repairs before learning resumes.

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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281