Tough times for teachers as all schools reopen for a ten-week second term instead of the traditionally 14 weeks.
All schools both primary and public primary and secondary schools will open for the second term of the 2022 academic year tomorrow in what promises to be a challenging time for learners, teachers and parents as the effects of the pandemic continue to affect basic education for the third year running.
Previously, the second term in each academic year is one of the longest and busiest in the Kenyan school calendar.
Second term is usually covered in 14 weeks but is now is rescheduled to take only10 weeks (tough times for teachers).
However, learners will ideally spend less than nine weeks in class.
The ten-week term will have one week lost as schools will break for half term between August 6 and 13 to allow for the General Election that will take place on August 9.
Most public schools are used as polling stations and tallying centres by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Learners will lose more class time if there is a runoff in the presidential election since they will be forced to close school again for a repeat election.
The same would happen if the election is nullified by the Supreme Court like it happened in 2017.
The term is scheduled to end on September 16 when schools will break for one week before opening for the last term of the year on September 26, 2022.
This will be the last term of the two-year crash programme before the resumption of the regular calendar in late January next year.
“We’ve had to create extra classes in the evening and even come to teach on Saturdays and Sundays in order to cover the syllabus. The time is just not enough yet the workload remains the same,” a teacher from a national school in Kiambu County told media team.
Candidates preparing for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations will have a shorter time for study as they also do the mock tests in the second term.
Learners in Grade 6 will also be preparing for the inaugural Kenya Primary Education Assessment in November.
This is the first time the assessment will be undertaken since the introduction of the competency-based curriculum.
Term Two also happens to have most of the co-curricular competitions like ball games and music.
Learners have, however, had to do without co-curricular activities since the disruption by the pandemic.
Although the government has relaxed restrictions on interactions, the congested programme will not allow for the resumption of the competitions just yet.
On the other hand parents are lamenting amidst hard economic times as they do Minute back to school shopping.
Further parents have been faced by fees payment headache from last year due pressure in the four school terms squeezed in 2021 and 2022 each to make up for the time lost to the pandemic.
It has particularly been difficult for them as inflation continues to rise and with it, the cost of living.
As parents struggle to pay fees, head teachers and principals have warned that they will struggle to manage the schools if the government does not wire them money early enough.
This is because many of them have accumulated huge debts and yet parents also owe colossal fees arrears.
Prices for some food items like maize and beans have more than doubled in the past six months.
According to the principal secretary for Basic Education, the government is working on a plan for schools to buy food directly from the National Cereals and Produce Board instead of the open market, following a request by the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association.
For sure it is going to tough times for teachers, heads of institions and parents as schools reopen for the short second term packed of activities.