Classrooms should stay empty during holidays
The Basic Education Act, 2013, outlaws holiday tuition of any kind. Any person who contravenes this law is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh100,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both. But why this ban?
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), in consultation with players, allocates optimum time to cover prescribed syllabuses at various levels of education. Education experts point out that this time must be planned for and used effectively to accomplish the teaching and learning tasks. It is for this reason that a school must have a time table, which is followed by all teachers.
Term dates that the Cabinet Secretary for Education issues on annual basis ensure that the official school hours within any term or school calendar are adequate to expose the learners to the prescribed curriculum for every level of education, grade or class. Holiday tuition, therefore, is nothing but implementing the curriculum beyond designated time.
Detaining students in school after the end of the term or recalling them before the official opening dates beats the logic behind holidays or breaks that policy makers have designated in an educational system. There are legal issues around this, particularly when something unfortunate happens to learners or teachers during this period.
Under modern formal education, school holidays underscore the need for students (and teachers) to maintain a sensible balance between work, rest and recreation. Students have legitimate interests outside education, interests which are connected with their emotional and physical, personality and spiritual growth. Holiday breaks give them an opportunity to indulge in these interests and hobbies.
Equally important, as part of their growth and development, it gives them time for friends and family. Besides, learning is a mentally taxing process. Learners need opportunities to not only assimilate and understand the knowledge they are exposed to in the classroom or the laboratory, but to rest. Continuous teaching and learning beyond the official schools hours and term dates has no sound educational value.
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