Kenya Private Schools Association national chairperson Mutheu Kasanga addresses the Press at a past event. [File]
Private schools are now demanding a slice of the Government’s free primary and secondary education money, which is currently the preserve of public schools.
Through a petition to Parliament, the private schools say they are ready to handle swelling student numbers if the Government considers channelling a portion of the billions given to public schools.
They also accuse the Government of discriminating against pupils in private schools, arguing that funding “should be tied to the student and not the school”.
To support their petition, they have told the Government that it makes little logic to have public schools bursting at the seams yet private schools have the capacity to accommodate extra students if only part of the money can be channelled to the private institutions.
SEE ALSO :New medical cover for private schoolsThe petition was read by Speaker Justin Muturi last Thursday.
It states: “In spite of the said budgetary provision, children who joined private secondary schools and were captured in the Nemis system do not benefit from Government capitation of Sh22,244, which would have lessened the financial burden and aid access to basic education for all children.
“The petitioner therefore proposes that the initiative of 100 per cent transition could be further headed out through placement of students in private secondary schools which have ready capacity to absorb students instead of putting up day streams in national, extra-county and county boarding schools.”
The petition is signed by Kenya Private Schools Association (Kepsa) national chairperson Mutheu Kasanga.
SEE ALSO :Kenya’s best rated private schools fetedThe petition wants Parliament to engage the Government to reconsider the capitation policy for pupils and students.
The Government pays Sh22,244 annually for every student in public secondary school and Sh1,420 for each pupil in public primary school.
Private schools argue that many students transfer from public schools for various reasons, including congestion, but their capitation is never accounted for.
“This is about the rights of every Kenyan child. Since the beginning of the year, thousands of students have transferred to private schools but no one knows where the money they were getting goes. We are not telling the Government to provide money equivalent to the school fess paid but to ensure that all children in the country benefit,” said Ms Mutheu.
But to grant the wishes of private schools, Parliament would need to amend Section 29 of the Basic Education Act, 2013 and other relevant government polices on education funding.
The Act does not envisage funding for students and pupils in private schools.
The petition could ignite debate on the role of private schools in achieving universal free education.
Schools have been experiencing a surge in student numbers in secondary schools since introduction of free day learning.
The enrollment data has further gone up, thanks to the 100 per cent transition campaign that saw Ministry of Education and regional government administration officials comb through villages to admit learners to schools.
The policy introduced by former Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i in 2017 is part of a global campaign to give all children access to learning.
The pressure in high schools has been so immense that the Teachers Service Commission has requested for additional funds to increase the number of teachers.
Infrastructure in schools has also been inadequate, barely able to cater for the huge student numbers, pushing some schools to devise local arrangements to accommodate learners.
And with the campaigns for 100 per cent transition likely to be mounted again after this year’s KCPE examinations, public secondary schools are headed for serious challenges.
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang declined to comment on the petition saying he would not like to pre-empt Parliament debate.
“I’m yet to see the petition,” said the PS.
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Private schoolsPetition on School fundingSpeaker Justin MuturiCapitation policyEducation Principal Secretary Belio KipsangKCPE examinations
British PM Boris Johnson spends second night in intensive care
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was spending a second night in intensive care battling the coronavirus which has infected more than 55,000 across the country and killed nearly 6,200.
“He stayed at work for you… now pray at home for him,” The Sun tabloid splashed across its front page Wednesday while the Daily Express said: “Boris ‘will pull through’.”
Deputising for Johnson, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he was “confident he’ll pull through, because if there’s one thing I know about this prime minister, he’s a fighter and he’ll be back, leading us through this crisis in short order”.
In an update Tuesday evening, the prime minister’s spokesman said his “condition is stable and he remains in intensive care for close monitoring.”
He earlier said the 55-year-old Conservative leader was receiving “standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance” and had not required a ventilator.
Johnson is the most high-profile government leader to become infected with Covid-19 and messages of support flooded in from across Britain and the world.
He was admitted to intensive care on Monday evening after spending Sunday night in hospital following concerns he still had a cough and high temperature 10 days after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
His transfer to intensive care is unprecedented for a prime minister during a national emergency.
For many people, it brought home the seriousness of the disease that has so far seen 6,159 deaths in Britain, with a record 786 more reported in a daily update on Tuesday.
Despite the record daily death toll, there was more encouraging news with the number of new daily cases remaining at a roughly stable 3,643.
In a round of broadcast interviews, senior minister Michael Gove insisted the “work of government goes on”.
He later said he was now staying at home after a family member displayed mild coronavirus symptoms.
Raab chaired the daily coronavirus meeting in the prime minister’s place on Tuesday.
“There is a clear plan… the government and the cabinet are working together to implement that plan,” Johnson’s spokesman said when asked if there was a power vacuum in Britain.
The country does not have a formal constitutional role of deputy prime minister, and experts said Raab would need the support of the rest of the cabinet to make any big decisions.
The most pressing issue is a review expected next week on whether to continue the nationwide lockdown introduced on March 23 to try to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Johnson announced on March 27 that he had coronavirus and went into self-isolation in a flat above his Downing Street office.
But on Monday evening he was moved to intensive care in London’s St Thomas’ hospital after his condition worsened.
The prime minister has received messages of support from around the world, with US President Donald Trump sending best wishes to his “very good friend” while Russian leader Vladimir Putin said Johnson’s “energy, optimism and sense of humour” would see him through.
For some, Johnson’s larger-than-life personality has made his hospitalisation all the more shocking.
His biographer Andrew Gimson said Johnson always made him feel upbeat, and “now here he is the stricken one”.
“This is an enormous shock, completely unfamiliar territory for all those who know him,” he told BBC radio.
Experts said it was not uncommon for coronavirus patients to move to intensive care, but said it showed Johnson’s condition was serious.
“There is no doubt this turn of events means Boris Johnson is extremely sick,” said Derek Hill, professor of medical imaging at University College London.
The British government was criticised for initially refusing to follow other European countries in requiring people to stay home as the virus spread rapidly across the globe.
Johnson himself said in early March that he was still shaking hands with people.
Two weeks ago, he ordered a nationwide lockdown, but parliament continued to sit for several days after and Westminster became a hotspot for the virus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, have both been infected, although they have since recovered.
Johnson, who has been prime minister only since July last year, is not known to have any underlying health issues, although he has struggled with his weight.
Johnson’s pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, moved out of Downing Street after some staff fell ill.
But she said on Saturday she had just spent a week in bed with symptoms, although she has not been tested.
Virus fears: Mozambique frees 5,000 inmates
MAPUTO. Authorities in Mozambique have freed more than 5,000 inmates as coronavirus fears grow in the Southern Africa country.
Parliament on Monday passed an amnesty law on sentences affecting 5,032 local and foreign nationals to reduce congestion and curb the spread of Covid-19.
The law will benefit inmates who had sentences of up to one year.
So far, Mozambique has confirmed 10 coronavirus cases. None of those were reported in its congested prisons though, but officials said they were taking precautions.
“Mozambique jails, which have five times more than its real 4,498 capacity, are overcrowded and this would be risky for the pandemic spread,” Minister for Justice, Religious and Constitutional Matters Helena Kida said.
Last week, Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi declared a countrywide state of emergency effective April 1 to 30 in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Nyusi justified the measures citing the need to protect all people’s lives.
The southern African country also suspended the issuance of visas with effect from March 23 and shut all education institutions as preventive measure.
In March 22, Mozambique confirmed its first positive case of Covid-19.
Gatherings of more than 50 people are also prohibited according to the presidential decree.
Following an attack at Mocimboa da Praia Quissanga villages, Cabo Delgado, tens of displaced families are fleeing to the provincial capital Pemba seeking security.
Cabo Delgado, which is about 1,663 kilometres north of Maputo, boasts minerals such as gold, grenadines, aquamarines, tourmalines, blue topaz and green tourmalines and attracts many foreigners.
How pandemic has altered Muslims daily call to prayer : The Standard
A Muslim prays outside Jamia Mosque in Nairobi on March 21. The mosque has been closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus in Kenya. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard ]
Long before police began storming churches to flush out worshipers in the wake of coronavirus, Muslims had already heeded the call to stay home.
Yet the Muslim call to prayer or the Adhan faithfully rings out from the majestic towers of the mosques daily.
So what did the Muslims do right to still faithfully pray without congregating, and in so doing make an invaluable contribution in preventing the spread of Covid-19?
This is what they did: Observant Muslims and non-Muslims have noted the slight but significant alteration of the Muslim call to prayer or Adhan.
SEE ALSO: Boxing matches cancelled over outbreak of deadly virusThe adhan, recited by the muezzin or muadhin (caller to prayer), traditionally from the mosque’s towers, summons Muslims to the five obligatory prayers (salat).
Recited five times a day, the adhan serves as a brief summary of the Islamic faith whilst urging faithful to congregate for prayers, mostly, in the mosque.
Traditionally salat or swalat in the mosque is obligatory for adult males. But Prophet Mohamed advised that women who wish to participate in congregational prayers should not be denied the chance.
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But in line with government directives on combating coronavirus and advice by Muslim leaders and scholars, Muslims found a unique way of still praying together without congregating in mosques.
Like other aspects of Muslim prayer, the adhan has undergone some slight change to accommodate changed circumstances, and Muslims are no longer urged or obligated to congregate for prayers in mosques.
SEE ALSO: State ordered to find, quarantine 239 passengers from ChinaAs soon as coronavirus was reported in Kenya, Islamic leaders and scholars immediately searched and found jurisprudence for not congregating, derived from the Koran, which is the primary source, and hadith (the recorded words and actions of Prophet Mohamed).
They found that this accommodates slight but lifesaving changes to the adhan, thus addressing the anxieties of Muslims who may have felt like they are descending into sin for not congregating in mosques.
Additionally, this jurisprudence was derived from the experience of early Muslims and the Prophet when they encountered circumstances like extreme weather and disease that would hinder them from performing the obligatory salat.
In brief, the muezzin recites that Arabic words hayya ‘ala salah (hasten to the prayer), hayya ‘ala falah (hasten to the salvation).
In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the doctrine of necessity, which is permissible in Islam has compelled a slight rendition of the adhan.
SEE ALSO: ‘Self-quarantine’ call and how Nigerian doc handled first Ebola patientIn addition to or replacement hayya ‘ala salah, and hayya ‘ala falah, the muezzin nowadays chants- “As salat fi buyutikum” which in Arabic means “pray in your homes.”
In Coast and across the world, Muslims are answering the call to prayer from their homes.
According to Sheikh Hassan Omar, the national treasurer of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, Muslims have, historically, since the day of Prophet Mohamed, been advised to pray from home in times of danger or during any other calamity that requires people to seek safety at home.
The Friday sermon is an opportunity to advise the faithful on current affairs, which would have been the ideal platform to sensitise the public against the pandemic.
Besides, Muslims observe ritual purification or wudhu using water before engaging in prayer. This involves washing of hands, mouth, feet, face and ears which in themselves are touted as among the best practices against the spread of the disease.
SEE ALSO: Three people under self-quarantine in Nandi CountySituations that require quarantine are not new in Islam. One hadith states that Khalifa Umar, a close companion of Prophet Mohamed, was on an excursion when he and his companions came across a town whose citizens were suffering from a contagious disease.
He asked his companions on their opinion on whether to proceed or head back to Madina.
A few said they should proceed, others advising that they turn back.
One companion, however, narrated that he had overheard the Prophet say, “If you hear a contagious disease exists in a country, do not travel there,” he reported.
Khalifa Umar ordered that they return to Madina on the strength of that hadith whereupon one of the companions asked him: “Are you running away from the qadar (predestination) of Alah ya amiirul Muumineen (leader of the faithful)?”
To which Umar replied, “Rather we are moving away from one qadar to another.”
Another hadith states that Abdul Rahman bin Awf, who was also a companion of the Prophet, narrated that he heard the Prophet say: “If you hear of a plague in a land, do not go there, and if it breaks out in a land where you may be, do not leave.”
But Prophet Mohamed did not give all his followers a carte blanche to do as they wished.
One hadith says a blind person went to the prophet and told him there was no one to guide him to the mosque. He asked the Prophet whether for those reasons he could be exempted from swalah. The prophet initially agreed, but after angel Jibreel (Gabriel) immediately spoke to him on the matter, he called the blind man and told him, “Do you hear the adhan?”
The man said he did. The prophet then said to him, “If you hear the call, answer it by going to the mosque.”
It is reported that Prophet Mohamed never missed a single congregational prayer.
But coronavirus and the doctrine of necessity meant that all this had to change.
Ishaq is a Muslim and journalist. Ochami is a journalist who has studied Islamic jurisprudence.
Are you suspecting that you have coronavirus? Before you rush to the hospital, do this quick easy self-assessment test. #StayHome #WashYourHands HERE.
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