Date Conducted: - Wednesday 12th August, 2020
MKU has exhibited readiness for resumption of operation
During his tour to inspect the varsity level of preparedness and adherence to the stipulated COVID-19 guidelines by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Ministry of Education as the university prepare resumption of face to face learning, cabinet secretary for education professor George Maghoha said that he was impressed by the measures that have been put in place by the university management led by the vice-chancellor professor Stanley Waudo.
The measures include installation of handwashing stations in various locations within the university, installation of automatic hand sanitizer dispensers, a sitting arrangement that adheres to the social distancing of 1.5 meters in the laboratories and classes, mandatory wearing of face masks, adequate signage sensitizing students and staff on combating the pandemic amongst other measures.
Professor George Maghoha lamented that most public higher learning institutions, about 20% of them, have done nothing in regard to putting in place measures given by the ministry of health in a bid to combat the contagion. “only two private universities, Mount Kenya University and Strathmore University has strictly followed the Ministry of Health guidelines and have exhibited their readiness if the schools were to reopen tomorrow”.He also expressed his gratitude to Mount Kenya University as it is the only private institution for higher learning that has absorbed more than ten thousand government-sponsored students who are currently undertaking their studies virtually since the closure of the institution following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the country.
One of the requirements for schools before reopening in January is to have isolation rooms for students who might exhibit Corona Virus symptoms as they await to be transferred to the nearest medical facility.In this regard, CS Magoha pointed out that Mount Kenya University’s proximity to Thika level 5 hospital puts the institution in a good position to manage new infections and suspected cases.Following the disruption of face-to-face learning in many institutions following the pandemic outbreak in the country, the government has pledged to support public institutions that are struggling to offer virtual learning due to the inadequacy of resources to ensure all institutions and their students are at par.
The Ministry of Education has also encouraged institutions to continue offering virtual graduation terming it as a new norm in a bid to combat the contagion.Mount Kenya University shifted its learning gears from face-to-face teaching following the institution closure on March 20, 2020 to online classes.This has allowed students to continue studying and doing examinations, thanks to the virtual system that was operationalized five years ago.According to VC Waudo, the system, supplemented by broadcast lectures on TV 47 has kept students at the institution academically active.He called upon other institutions to embrace virtual learning as the world is headed in that direction.However, Professor Waudo said the virtual learning has faced challenges especially to practical and laboratory-based teaching learning and examination especially for Health and Applied Sciences, School of Pure and applied sciences, school of Engineering among others and requested the ministry to consider the institution for reopening for the students pursuing those courses.In response, Magoha said his ministry is in wide consultation with different stakeholders and soon they will resolve the challenge.
One of the appeals by the university management is the ministry to allow visually impaired students back to school as they cannot access virtual learning like normal students.
Considering the revenues of private institutions have been severely affected hence threatening the sustainability of those institutions, their stakeholders and staff members, the Mount Kenya University has appealed to the government through the Ministry of Education to promptly the release tuition fee for government-sponsored students through relevant departments and if possible monthly releases of the said levies so as to secure the sustainability of learning in the ‘new normal’.
Professor George Maghoha said that reopening of schools will be largely dependent on how the deadly virus will behave and whether or not the country will be in a position to flatten its transmission curve.