As the academic year resumes normalcy on January 23rd 2023, one of the exciting things for parents has been the fact that this year’s opening date, which will see schools open for the first term of the 2023 academic year, is in the third week of the month.
This is a major change from the past, where schools have always opened in the first week of the new year, putting a lot of financial and travel pressure on families over the Christmas holidays.
Last year, for instance, schools opened on the 4th of January.
It has been evident that as families made their travel plans for the December holidays, the new school opening dates reduced the travel hustles and expenses for families.
“Travelling back to the city from the village this time was less hectic and it was good not to see students in uniform scrambling for matatus with everyone else who was trying to move from one county to another post the holiday break,” said Nyakundi, a father of two from Kisii County.
My family also happened to be travelling from Nairobi to Voi county via the SGR between the 2nd and 8th of January and it happened to be fully booked until the 9th of January, we could only get 5 tickets, the rest of the family members had to travel by road.
Students from the coastal region who have to connect to their destination via Nairobi often use the SGR as a convenient means of transport, similar to those from other counties who study in the coastal region, and I couldn’t help but realise the travel hustle would be much worse if students were transiting for back to school as well.
The extended school opening dates also meant that families were not forced to end their holidays immediately after Christmas and plan travel just before the new year, folks could extend holidays to the first or second week of January depending on work schedules, which reduced the usual shortage of matatus, especially for long-distance travellers.
As students in boarding schools across the counties resume school later in the month, we can expect travel to be less hectic and more convenient for them as they won’t be scrambling for vehicles with folks travelling from holidays in the village.
Parents also feel the convenience of finances especially those in the informal sector, as the new dates allow them to resume work after the holidays and hustle for fees.
“Before this, it meant that the money you had in December was to handle everything, Christmas expenses and fees as well. You would not even enjoy the holiday because of fees as schools would often open the week after Christmas. But now, even if you are expecting a salary, you can pay fees with the January salary. I pray that the Ministry paints this schedule,” Abigail, a mother of three shared.
The 2023 academic year resumes normalcy following the countrywide school disruptions and closure occasioned by the 2020 covid-19 pandemic, which saw schools in Kenya closed for nine months. Former President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered for all schools in the country to be closed in March 2020 following the outbreak of Covid-19.
Schools later re-opened partially on October 12, 2021, targeting learners from grade 4, class eight and form four candidates before resuming fully on January 4, 2022.