Kenyan schools will remain closed until next year January following the Covid-19 pandemic. Cabinet Secretary George Magoha canceled the national examinations scheduled to start at the end of this year. Students will report back to school early next year and repeat the entire academic year. This applied to the primary and secondary levels of education. However, advanced levels like colleges and Universities will resume studies on September abiding by the strict guidelines that the ministry will give. However, if the Covid-19 cases keep escalating in the coming months, then chances of an entire country’s lockdown are possible as President Uhuru confirmed the previous day. Therefore, this means the education Cabinet Secretary may reverse his decision on the resumption of colleges and universities.
Learning during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
In mid-March, after Corona was tested in the country, the ministry of education declared that all schools should immediately shut down. Students went back home for safety purposes. This was three months after the school calendar had begun; therefore, this brought confusion to the entire academic year.
Students were, therefore, forced to learn online as they stay home. The first session begins with registration, where students fill in attendance. Lessons then begin, and they are conducted over the internet using applications such as Zoom. These applications allow the use of video chats and discussions between the learner and the teacher. They schedule their days just like they do in school. Therefore, moving online does not mean that discipline is gone. Lessons remain interactive despite the lockdown. Teachers also test students online and submit results in the same way.
Some of these students have also found a way of unwinding after classes. Some of them are lovers of music, art lovers, among others. They, therefore, take on small projects after classes to help them unwind and also build talents. These projects also help them to keep busy and also give them a day to day routine.
Learning Inequalities during the Pandemic.
However, not all students have the same routine or have access to online, as demonstrated above. Some of these children come from homes whose parents cannot afford to buy them airtime and have no access to laptops or even phones. Therefore, most of these students found a different way of learning. Mitchell is a 15-year-old girl who fits in this description. She to conducts group discussions with her friends. They try to cover the syllabus on time as at first, they thought they would still be sitting for their national exams this year.
The group discussions give them a forum to help each other and as well as encourage one another. As a group, they all set aside a day or two every week where they meet and learn. They can only afford two days at most in a week because those are the days they have fewer chores to do at home. Then, they choose one person amongst themselves who’s good at a particular subject, and they assign him or her the duty to teach it to the rest. They put more effort into their favorite subjects.
Mitchell also uses television and radios to a different method of learning. However, learning from home is quite challenging as most of them do not have textbooks and other essential learning materials. They also lack the guidance and supervision of teachers that they got at school. Therefore, they have no one to ask for clarification in areas they have not understood. However, these children have dreams and are determined to attain them no matter the circumstances they face.
Kenyan Schools Remain closed.
The Kenyan academic year runs from January to November; therefore, the pandemic interfered with the calendar.
“The 2020 school calendar will be considered lost following the Coronavirus restrictions,” CS Magoha said.
All public and private schools will, therefore, abide by the new instructions given. The Kenya Institute Curriculum Development will continue providing school programs via television and radio plus online. However, as most students cannot access technology, SC Magoha says he will explore how he can make e-learning accessible to all students.