The Kenyan Education Ministry on Tuesday declared that the primary and secondary school students will only return to school in 2021. Subsequently, terminal exams for both levels – the Kenya Primary Certificate Exams, and the Kenya Secondary Certificate Exams – have also been canceled.
Normally the school year in the East African country runs from January to November when it climaxes with end-of-term exams. But Education Minister George Magoha said in a statement that the curve of Covid-19 infections was expected to flatten only by December.
“No primary and secondary school examinations will be held and the 2020 school calendar year will be considered lost due to Covid-19 restrictions”, Mr. Magoha said.
Kenya closed schools on March 15 when it had only three confirmed cases, among a raft of measures taken that month including a nighttime curfew to combat the spread of the virus.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced a “phased reopening” of the country, with international flights resuming on August 1 and the lifting of internal travel restrictions that had cordoned off the capital for four months. The 9 pm to 4 am curfew will remain in place.
However, cases are surging, with over 8,000 reported infections and 164 deaths.
Initially, Kenya had planned to reopen schools in September for those in their final years of primary and secondary school to allow them to take their exams, however, the mounting infection rate resulted in the shelving of this plan, the statement said.
The re-opening of universities will take place on a “case-by-case” basis, and the institutions were encouraged to consider phased re-opening and continue holding virtual classes and graduation ceremonies.
“Faced with this uncertain environment, the stakeholders have resolved to reopen all basic education learning institutions in January 2021. This is based on the assumption that the infection curve will have flattened by December 2020,” said Magoha.
The decisions “will apply to all children,” the statement said, specifying that this included schools offering an international curriculum.