Principal Secretary State Department for University Education and Research Amb. Simon Nabukwesi has encouraged Universities to continue creating a conducive learning environment that will help curb the spread of Corona virus pandemic among students and lecturers as they prepare for re-opening of the institutions.
The Principal secretary who was in Coast province to inspect ongoing Government sponsored projects and to assess the universities re-opening preparations at the technical University of Mombasa and Pwani university in Kilifi said he was impressed by the efforts being put in place so far to ensure that the institutions comply with the government regulations before reopening. “once you comply with the Covid-19 prevention guidelines, you should first consider a phased opening targeting the final year students who are to sit their exams” said the PS. “A compliance checklist will be used as a guide during the inspection by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health team to ascertain if all the requirements have been put in place before you are allowed to reopen”. He added.
The universities have been asked to consider a staggered resumption of studies to be able to conform with physical and social distancing of at least 1.5m requirements, especially in halls of residence, library’s, lecture rooms and dining halls.
“Social distancing is the most critical factor in ensuring the safety and health of students and lecturers for reopening of universities. Handwashing preferably with foot operated washing areas with soap and water at designated entry points and lecture halls is a mandatory requirement as well as sprayer able or automatic hand sanitizers, wearing of face masks and monitoring body temperature will be the minimum requirements for the health and safety of students and lecturers said the PS.
Amb. Nabukwesi also noted the two universities have a well-established and robust ICT infrastructure which has enabled continuous interactive and effective teaching and learning process as well as online registration and induction for the new students which had already commenced this month.
He encouraged the two universities to consider establishing centers of excellence in specific academic courses so as to attract a high number of student enrollment in specialized areas of study.
The PS at the same time urged lecturers especially those teaching TVET programs to take advantage of Government offered scholarships to advance their academic studies if they are to remain relevant to the present times and provide quality teaching in the universities.