Some schools in Nairobi and its environs have changed the reporting date from the half-term break from today to tomorrow following concerns that demonstrations called by the opposition pose a risk to learners’ safety.
According to the Ministry of Education calendar, the half-term break officially ended yesterday and learners are expected to resume learning today. However, parents and teachers have complained that allowing the children to go to school could compromise their safety, especially if the demonstrations turn violent.
Parents whose children will travel through the city have expressed fear that transportation might be affected, thereby inconveniencing them. Equally likely to be affected are learners from Nairobi who attend schools upcountry.
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga has called for demonstrations in the capital city that he said yesterday will begin in the central business district and proceed to State House. Mr Odinga has called for nationwide demonstrations to force the government to lower the cost of living, among other demands.
Last week, the chair of the National Parents Association Silas Obuhatsa pleaded with Mr Odinga and President William Ruto to dialogue to avert a crisis that might affect school children.
Omboko Milemba, the chair of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers had asked the Education ministry to defer the opening but there has been no word from the ministry. A few schools sampled by the Nation cited the planned demonstrations as the reason for changing the date.
As others pushed the reporting date forward, learners at State House Girls High School had their break cut short and they reported back yesterday. The school is situated along State House Road, which was being patrolled yesterday by heavily armed General Service Unit officers.
“Our school is so close to State House which is targeted by the demonstrators. We were asked to bring in the children today (Sunday) instead of tomorrow. They’ll be safer in school,” a parent said.
The Kenya High School Chief Principal Virginia Wahome on Saturday told parents through a text message that the reporting date had been changed.
“Dear Parent/Guardian. Following the planned demonstrations in Nairobi, we have postponed the reporting date from Monday March 20 2023 to Tuesday March 21 2023 by 3:30pm. We apologise for inconveniences caused,” read the message.
Makini School Senior Head Teacher John Muriithi also sent a message to parents informing them of the change of date.
“Please note that the school midterm break has changed and will run from Thursday 16th March 2023 to Monday 20th March 2023. School resumes on Tuesday 21st March 2023,” the message reads.
For Nairobi Primary School, which is also close to State House, there has been no change in the opening date. Boarders will report back tomorrow while day scholars will resume studies on Tuesday.