“Dear learners, continue studying at home”: Kenyan Bishop on Extended School Closure

Bishop Paul Njiru Kariuki, the Chairman of KCCB's Commission for Education and Religious Education.

The Bishop overseeing the Commission for Education of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has encouraged students to continue undertaking educational and creative activities at home following the announcement that schools in the East African country will remain closed until January 2021 at the earliest due to COVID-19.

“To our dear learners, I humbly ask them to continue studying at home. They know the material they are supposed to cover in primary as well and as in secondary. Hence, they should continue reading and revising,” the Chairman of KCCB’s Commission for Education and Religious Education, Bishop Paul Njiru Kariuki told ACI Africa in an interview.

He added during the Wednesday, July 8 interview, “Let them have time to play and relax and engage themselves in valuable things like helping their parents in doing housework, farming, cleaning the home compound, looking after domestic animals, etc. There is a lot that can be done.”

Since March 15, learning institutions in Kenya have been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, July 7, Kenya’s Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), Prof. George Magoha announced that schools will remain closed until January 2021.

The CS also announced the cancellation of the final year exams for secondary school students and primary school pupils usually taken in October and November respectively. Learners would also repeat a year since schools closed only three months into the school calendar.


Institutions of higher learning, however, could have a phased reopening from September “upon approved compliance with the Ministry of Health COVID-19 protocols,” Prof. Magoha announced July 7.

Bishop Kariuki told ACI Africa that he “fully” concurs with the directives from Kenya’s Ministry of Education “considering that the security and health of the pupils and students is very critical during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.”

He described parents as the “first teachers” and urged them to “teach their children values, help them to deepen their faith in God, have time to listen to their children and discuss with them their challenges and how to handle those challenges.”

The Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Embu Diocese went on to encourage parents to spend quality time with their children, using the extended school closure to “organize meaningful outings, engage their children in valuable tasks, and educate their children on matters of health and sex.”

“Between now and January be innovative and create a job. Think outside a box. What can you do to earn your living? There are 1001 ways. So, teachers please make use of your knowledge,’ the 57-year-old Kenyan Prelate told ACI Africa.

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Kenya has confirmed at least 8,525 COVID-19 cases, 169 related fatalities, and 2,593 recoveries. Reports indicate that in the week ending July 5, the country had been recording an average of 216 COVID-19 cases daily.

On Monday, July 6, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the phased re-opening of the country, bringing to an end three months of restricted movement into and out of four Counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi, which were considered COVID-19 hotspots.

Following the report from the Inter-faith Council, which he constituted on June 12, the President also announced the phased resumption of public worship, restricting the prayer services to not more than one hour and a congregation of not more than 100 people among other measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections.