By Constance Ndeleko
Students are facing it rough as they have to spend another month at home as per the briefing given by ministry of Education.
It is plausible for all relevant authorities that have succeeded in assisting children catch up with lost time by using online and offline educative provisions to carry on with learning on the contrary it has proven to be a challenge for those who can’t access these learning materials especially those in marginalized areas.
Education sector has significantly been affected worldwide with about 1.5 billion learners disrupted from learning. Over 32, 000 schools are now closed, over 18 million pre-primaries, primary and secondary school learners and over 150,000 refugees are now confined at home. These learners require home based learning. Similarly, over 300,000 teachers are at home and require support to help learners to remotely learn and ensure continuity of learning process.
The interference touch people across communities, but their impact is particularly severe for disadvantaged boys and girls and their families especially in hard to reach areas, urban informal settlements, pockets of poverty in rural areas, IDPs and refugees.
Major setback include:
- When learning is interrupted- children and youth are deprived of opportunities that initiate growth and development especially for the underprivileged ones.
- Parents were caught off guard on distance learning and home-schooling and it makes it hard to facilitate learning with limited resources and skills.
- Limited access to technology and internet connectivity has proven difficult for learners from disadvantageous families making it difficult to access education and turning to be unfair.
- As we strive to find a vaccine for COVID-19 it is scary to ignore possibilities of children dropping out of school and ultimately being forced into child labor, child trafficking, early marriages, early pregnancies, drug and substance abuse of which it is hard to assure their return in classrooms.
- Likability of girls and young adolescent facing GBV due to closure of schools cannot be passed by and that can prove to be a great barrier for them to get education.
- Most vulnerable children depend on school to receive help on mental health issues and psychological support but now this is turning to be a challenge for their well-being and development.
- Social interactivity is mainly found in children and this is a big blow to them as they might miss on indispensable learning and development.
- If a certain member of the family are found to have contacted the virus and there’s societal segregation it may have detrimental effects on school-going children causing stigma.
Furthermore, the government of Kenya is cognizant of the above and the ministry of education has taken an initiative to come up with a Response Plan that will ultimately see that children’s right to basic education is safeguarded.
This response plan outlines interventions that will enhance prevention and response to educational needs during and after the COVID 19 crisis in line with the overall government health priorities of social marketing of health activities and education for community health action as well as to the National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018- 2022.
It provides mitigation and return of learners back to school interventions aimed to ensure the continuity of learning during the COVID 19 crisis in the short term, medium and long term.
- Provide access to quality, equitable and inclusive education to learners during and after the crisis to ensure continued learning
- Facilitate production of online teaching and learning materials and extend the existing distance learning programs
- Provide an opportunity of addressing loss of learning opportunities in conflict troubled regions through use of supportive medium such as livestreaming of education content
- Build the Resilience of Broad casting of Education Content
- Provide safe, friendly and well refurbished school environments’ for both learners and teachers
- Develop and implement intervention programs for the most vulnerable learners especially the girl child;
- Provide professional support for ministry of education officials and teachers to enable them support education system
- Provide psychosocial support to learners, teachers, education officials and other stakeholders. And also provide information to prevent transmission and spread of COVID 19
- Strengthen the human resource component for effective and efficient response to the COVID 19 and post corona virus.
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