Schools reopened across the country on Tuesday, July 12 for second term after a ten-day break, just days before Kenyans go to the polls.
But as the August polls draw closer, the education sector will increasingly be in the limelight. The school calendar was disrupted by the pandemic, forcing the Ministry of Education to review the schedule and compress terms.
Learners are expected to proceed for a half-term break a week before the election to allow the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ample time to set up polling stations in readiness for the elections.The learners are expected to go back to class to complete their second term, immediately after the elections.
But as Kenyans head to the polls, an electoral process can take a wrong turn and threaten the country’s education system.
The Country’s recent history features hotly contested and sometimes violent elections, with a chaotic aftermath that would not ordinarily allow the reopening of schools.
In the 2017 August 8 Election, schools were closed earlier than scheduled to allow IEBC to use the institutions as polling and tallying centers.
This year’s election is not different from previous highly competitive polls, pitting two front runners. Deputy President William Ruto and Raila Odinga will battle out at the ballot before the winner succeeds President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Education stakeholders are keeping their fingers crossed to avert another disruption after schools remained closed for almost ten months in 2020 after the outbreak of the pandemic.
However, the Cabinet Secretary for Education exuded confidence that elections will be peaceful to allow the smooth running of the calendar.
“We should congratulate ourselves we have gone through the pandemic, we are going to go through an election. Let this election process not be the catalyst of causing instability in our schools again.” Magoha stated
The school calendar is expected to be normalized in January 2023 with current Grade six, class eight, and form four candidates set to sit national exams in December this year.