Parents have criticised the Education ministry’s decision to change the school calendar for third term.
National Parents Association Chairman Nicholas Maiyo faulted the move, saying parents will face difficulties dealing with children who will be out of school for a long time.
“There were complaints last year when the holiday was longer and this time, it will be the same as parents will have problems managing children who will be idle for long because of the ban on tuition and their stage of development, especially for the young girls between 14 and 17 years,” Mr Maiyo said.
Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, in a statement Friday, announced that all primary schools will close for the December holiday on October 25 while students in Form One to Form Three will close on October 24, which is earlier than the previous date.
The move is meant to allow for the repeat presidential election, which will be held on October 26 and most schools will act as polling stations and tallying centres.
It now means children will be at home for more than two months, which parents say will affect them economically and socially.
Ms Janet Muthoni-Ouko, an education activist and a former director of Elimu Yetu Foundation, who said in as much as elections bring uncertainty and students should be at home, most parents will struggle to take care of their children for such a long time as most have to go to work.
She said the lack of programmes to keep the children busy, their age – with most in the puberty stage – and inability of some parents to employ house helps, poses a challenge for the parents.
“Most parents always feel that schools are the safest place for their children because it keeps them busy,” she said.
Ms Phoebe Odoyo, a mother of two, said the move would only serve to increase the burden on parents who had already paid school fees and will now be forced to take care of their upkeep while at home.
“Taking care of the children for more than two months is not an easy task, especially for the parents of girls who are easy prey while idle at home,” she said.
IEBC pushed the election to October 26 from the initial date of October 17.