The coronavirus disease has affected many sectors across the globe. Some of these sectors are education, health among others. Education being one of the important sectors has received a heavy blow from the pandemic. Most nations around the globe closed their learning institutions to curb the spread of the virus. The Kenyan government in agreement with the Education sector made a crucial decision to open schools in shifts.
In Africa, specifically in Kenya, the education sector may not recover fast. This is after many public and private schools closed following the government’s directive in March. Even as of now, many private schools lacked the funds to continue with operations, hence laying off teachers.
Some schools also decided to make use of the classrooms by turning them into rentals. Teachers had to look for other means of survival since there was no income coming in. On the part of students and pupils, they lost a whole academic year. The students who were to do their final exams had to wait a little longer before moving to the next level.
Reopening of Schools following the Ministry’s Order
After an extended closure that interrupted more than 15 million students, the ministry of education decided to reopen schools. However, these institutions must follow health guidelines. These guidelines include wearing face masks, sanitization, washing hands regularly, checking temperatures, and observing social distancing.
Despite the good news, several challenges came following the reopening of schools. Firstly, floods have affected schools in other counties, and children are unable to resume studies. Secondly, parents are facing financial crises; hence many parents cannot afford school fees.
The CS of Education, Dr. Magowa, told schools to spare children and give parents enough period to gather fees. The other issue is that children and students should buy their face masks, therefore burdening them further. Unfortunately, the government did not allocate any money for the distribution of free face masks.
The other major problem is that many teenage girls may not go back to school due to teenage pregnancies during the pandemic. Before the epidemic, experts had predicted the country’s dropout rate for children at the primary stage to stand at 20%.
The children who have underlying diseases are at a greater risk of contracting the virus; hence there is a fear among parents.
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What Parents and Children are Saying?
Judith Achieng, a single mother who lost her job and cannot afford to send her kids back to school, says:
“I feel bad because my children always ask me ‘when I will go back to school?’ I don’t know what to tell them because I do not have money.”
On the other hand, Lavynne Atieno, Achieng’s daughter, says:
“It is sad because my friends are getting an education, yet I am not.”
Covid-19 Stats in Kenya
The numbers in Kenya have been fluctuating daily. According to recent health data, the state has recorded more than 40,000 cases of coronavirus. The total number of fatalities related to the virus stands at 787, and recoveries are over 30,000. Kenya seems it might run for a second wave of the virus following the recent data. This may force the country to reverse its measures, including closing down the learning institutions again.