By Constance Ndeleko
Education world wide has been greatly affected fostering closure of schools sending learns home . Children have been forced to adapt with online learning or through other mediums such as radio for those who can access it.
However, this has paused unfairness for children coming from marginalised areas who can’t access these facilities to keep up with learning activities that have been going on for weeks now.
To date Kenya has reported about 360 cases of Corona positive person including children with about 114 recoveries since, confirmation of the first Corona Virus in Kenya on the 13th of May 2020. The education curriculum schedule has been disrupted forcing children to remain at home to limit the hasty spread of the Virus since the closure of schools in between 16th and 20th of April.
The Ministry of Education has also come up with online content that all school going children are accessing through various channels to ensure uninterrupted learning for all learners in the country while they are at home.
Children living in the remote and hardship places in Kenya, the girl child, Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs), children with special educational needs and disabilities, children from poor urban informal settlements, children in refugee camps among others have immensely been affected by the upshot of the pandemic where school served as a protection institution inhibiting most challenges these children face.
Challenges caused by COVID-19
Vulnerable and marginalized households who rely on informal employment and businesses. Their ability to finance school related expenditure such as school kits, meals, learning materials has been severely compromised.
With the Government adopting remote teaching to support distance learning and online education delivered through radio and television and internet, leaners from poor, vulnerable and marginalized households may not have access to these mediums of learning further worsening inequality in access and quality of education.
Schools play an important role in the protection of children especially girls in poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities. With over32, 000 schools closed over 18 million pre-primaries, primary and secondary school learners and over 150,000 refugees are now confined at home.
These schools’ closure coupled with restricted movements with acute challenges around space among poor households have exacerbated cases of exposure to pornographic materials, drug and substance abuse, increased rape, Gender Based Violence (GBV) including defilement of children.
Many children in ASALs, urban slums and pockets of poverty in Kenya rely on school meals and sanitary towels provided by government and partners. With the closure of schools, children who rely on them for these basic needs may experience hunger and suffer detrimental nutritional effects.
The interruption of learning processes will further increase anxiety and uncertainty regarding the National Examinations, increased psychological trauma among learners, teachers and parents; inequity in the ongoing online programs as majority of learners do not have access to digital Page 7 of 26 platforms due to lack of devices and internet connectivity at home; different levels of parental knowledge and attitude given that parents are supposed to support children in learning.
Additionally, prolonged closure of schools could lead to child labor; school drop outs; child pregnancies and early marriages; loss of jobs and income for some non-teaching staff; BOM teachers and those from private institutions; high economic dependence ratio where those working including education officials and teachers are supporting wider community and relatives who have experienced loss of income as a result of the pandemic.
The pandemic has disrupted learning for more than 1.5 billion learners worldwide. As the global death toll from the pandemic continues to rise, large numbers of children will be orphaned and become vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Businesses and schools’ closures have resulted in many and diverse challenges such as physical and psychological health risks, widespread job and income losses, family confinement, isolation and economic vulnerability.
These are tough times for the whole world. But for without basic essentials, food education
We may be a part but we can rise together
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