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How parents, students reacted to last-minute postponement of school reopening

In one instance in Nairobi, a matatu driver had to refund students' fare for them to return home

Matatu driver refunds a student their fare following the postponement of school reopening

In the wake of the Ministry of Education's last-minute decision to postpone the reopening of schools, reports of stranded students across Kenya are surfacing.

This shows the disruption the last-minute announcement has caused for students, families and transport providers.

In Nairobi CBD, a heartwarming tale unfolded when a matatu driver helped stranded students who had just learnt of the postponed opening dates after booking their tickets to Meru.

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Understanding the predicament, the considerate driver refunded the fares, enabling the students to return home.

However, not all stories had such a fortunate turn of events. Kepha Muogoi and his son experienced a taxing ordeal after travelling overnight from Voi to Nairobi.

They were shocked to discover upon arrival that schools would remain closed for another week.

The announcement left them seeking transport back to Voi, highlighting the communication gap that left many families in a bind.

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Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja was spotted in Nairobi CBD offering assistance to stranded students and giving them fare to travel back home.

In Mombasa a group of students was captured walking back home after learning to the update too late.

John Sande, a parent at Khadija Primary School in Mombasa said many parents had already released their children, and faulted the Ministry of Education for the late communication.

Margaret Yvonne Ober from Homa Bay county expressed her displeasure with the government, saying that she had already released her son & daughter to report to school.

"I was surprised when my son came back and told be that the opening date was postponed," she said.

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She was forced to travel to Easy Coach offices in Kisumu for help in establishing the whereabouts of her daughter.

"Many parents don't know where their children are. My daughter left for Nairobi in the morning and I don't know where she is," Ober stated.

These incidents reflect a broader issue faced by many learners and parents who received the news too late, due to the announcement coming at a time when some were already in transit, or even after they had arrived at their intended destinations.

The sudden shift in school opening dates, a measure taken by the Ministry to ensure safety against the backdrop of relentless rains and flooding, has had unintended consequences for the day-to-day lives of Kenyans.

Families are now dealing with the unexpected financial and emotional strain of having to reorganize their plans at the eleventh hour.

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In the press release signed by Dr. Ezekiel Machogu, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Education, the government decided to shift the starting date from Monday, April 29 to Monday, May 6, 2024.

This cautious step comes after last week's directive which had ordered all basic education learning Institutions send in reports about the rain's impact on their readiness to welcome back the learners.

After a thorough review of the situations reported from different schools across Kenya, the ministry came to the conclusion that the safety of students and staff could not be guaranteed amidst the current weather conditions.

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"The devastating effects of the rains in some of the schools is so severe that it will be imprudent to risk the lives of learners and staff before water-tight measures are put in place," stated the Ministry in their press statement.

This decision aligns with the ministry's top priority which is the safety of all school community members.

The latest downpours have resulted in widespread floods, affecting thousands of families and damaging infrastructure.

These heavy rains, forecasted by the Kenya Meteorological Department to continue, have caused chaos, leading to loss of lives and leaving many displaced.

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