The Kenyan High Court has halted a move by the government that would have seen the implementation of a community learning plan.
The high court on Tuesday halted a plan by the Kenyan government that would have seen schools reopened in estates and villages, following months of school closures due to coronavirus. The community learning plan had been touted by the Ministry of Education as a framework for students getting back to schools.
On March 15th, the President of Kenya gave a directive directing all schools in the country to be closed and learning suspended indefinitely. Months later, the schools remain closed, with the Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha indicating that the reopening would not be until 2021 when he predicted that the country will have handled the coronavirus in the country.
However, the Presidential directive was neither gazetted nor tabled in the National Assembly for debate and approval. This created legal loopholes, and whether the directive could hold water in court if challenged legally.
Challenging community learning plan
A parent, Mr. Joseph Enock Aura, filed a petition with the High Court after the government announced the community learning plan, challenging the school closure. Following the filing of the petition, Justice James Makau, issued a temporary order stopping the Education CS George Magoha from implementing the community learning plan as the petition challenging the closure of schools is heard.
Aura, a father of three, was directed by the High Court to furnish the Attorney-General and ministries of Education, Health and the National Council for Children’s Services with the petitions, arguing that the court had seen the matter was very urgent and needed to be addressed as soon as possible.
Aura argued that the schools should not have been closed in the first place questioning the presidential directive on the same matter. He also argued that the decision was based on panic of ‘a little known health matter called COVID-19’ which he argued that had a low mortality rate that was yet to be certifiable. He continued by saying that the damage done by school closures had significantly affected their health and well being than the COVID could ever achieve.
The petition seeks to compel the government to reopen all schools as soon as possible. They also want the schools to be in person and Aura has argued that the government is liable for losses that were made by primary and secondary schools.
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