School games: Education ministry to make tough choices

Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association, KSSA, representatives at a past East Africa games' championship.
Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association, KSSA, representatives at a past East Africa games' championship.

The education Ministry is finding itself between a rock and a hard place concerning the status of this year’s Co-curricular activities. The ministry, in coming weeks, will be weighing options on whether to cancel the activities or squeeze them in the remaining time. With the ministry setting the June 4th as the tentative reopening date for schools all eyes will be on Jogoo house to see the option the Ministry will settle on; with sources indicating they may be mulling suspension of the games till next year.

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By the time schools were shutdown, term one activities had not been concluded. The official closing closing date for term one would have been April 10, 2020 but schools were closed on March 16, 2020; to arrest further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, there was a deficit of four weeks.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further complicated the matrix; forcing the education ministry to extend the April holiday by another one month.

According to the official 2020 schools’ calendar, term two should last for fourteen weeks; with a one week half term break. Term three has been apportioned a total of 9 weeks for primary schools and 10 for secondary schools.

In total, secondary schools’ students are expected to have a total of 38 learning weeks per year and have only covered 10 weeks. This returns a deficit of 28 weeks (7 months).

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If schools reopen in June, then the school calendar will stretch to December. And, considering that there are national exams ahead, the remaining part of the year will indeed be action packed. The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, KCPE, examinations are to be executed between October 26th and 29th while, their secondary schools’ counterparts will be sitting the KCSE exams for a period of 3 weeks (from November 2 to Nover 25, 2020). With this in mind, the ministry may consider squeezing the calendar to accomodate the examinations period.

Available solutions.

As part of the solutions, the ministry may consider scrapping of end term examinations and order that learners be subjected to end year examinations only.

Fast forward, it may be practically impossible to have co-curricular activities for the remaining part of the year; unless the calendar is further squeezed to have the game during half term and other breaks. And staging the games will entirely depend on how far the corona virus has been cleared from the country; since social distancing is one of the surest way of keeping the virus at bay. The Kenyan Premier League has been terminated due to the current crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

School games that rake up a chunk of the co-curricular activities’ time require a total of 10 weeks if they resume at the regional level. By the time the closure came, some counties like Mombasa were yet to hold their championships. Regional and National games require a week apiece. Term two games take up to one and half months (6 weeks) from grass root levels to nationals. And there are the East Africa school games that last for two weeks. This year’s games were programmed for the 14th to 27th of August in Kenya, Kakamega county. This would also be a tall order considering that countries may have not cleared  their championships (in over 10 disciplines: basketball, handball, athletics, rugby 7’s and 15’s, swimming, soccer, volleyball and racquet games) as at this date.

It remains be be seen how the ministry will wade through the murky waters and strike a balance in the education sector this year.

1 COMMENT

  1. Even if it’s Dec we shall play co curricular is as essential as academic work infact some students are in school coz of games n sports.Hatch out a way out to save the well natured talents of our boys n girls

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