Are Students Learning in the Face of COVID19?

Peter BarakaEdtech Posts, Education in Kenya, Eneza's response to COVID-19, EnezaChats, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

After the Ministry of Education announced on Tuesday, July 7th that the 2020 school calendar  would be forfeited and that students would be repeating classes come January 2021, the negative impact of this decision on the education system has been and continues to be massive. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted learning for more than 1.5 billion students worldwide with over 18 million of those students being from Kenya.

With the economic effects of COVID-19 already taking its toll on the population, teachers, parents and learners have now been forced to figure out how to compensate for the lost academic year.

There have been different interventions by both government and the private sector to ensure learning continuity by providing alternative learning materials after schools were closed to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Some of the available resources include; radio and television programmes, cloud content, mobile learning etc.

Community based learning programmes have also been introduced that will see the use of public spaces like halls by teachers and learners to continue with their studies. 

As much as school closures have disrupted learning for all students in the country, this impact is felt severely  by disadvantaged boys and girls and their families especially those from informal urban settlements, hard to reach rural areas and refugee camps.

Learning will continue to be  greatly interrupted as long there are no clear guidelines as to when classroom doors will open. For disadvantaged families who rely solely on their children being in school to get an education, they lag behind as most of them do not have access  to revision materials and internet enabled devices they can use to learn.

Also, parents do not have the expertise to facilitate their children’s learning at home and this is even worse for those parents with limited access to resources for their children to learn and also those that have limited  literacy skills.

For the learners, it is possible that some of them may lose interest in learning when they think of repeating classes in January 2021. It is also going to be difficult for parents to pay school fees for the new calendar year given that there have been layoffs throughout most organisations due to the harsh economic conditions caused by the virus.

At Eneza we partnered with Safaricom PLC to provide access to Shupavu291 SMS based learning for free from April 2nd to August 31st 2020. This has enabled over 1.85 million learners access curriculum aligned lessons, revision papers and also ask questions to teachers via the Ask a Teacher platform. The high number of questions asked to teachers shows that students are still keen on continuing with learning even with the uncertainty of when schools will reopen.

Given that the number COVID-19 infections continue to rise at an alarming rate and no signs of a vaccine being discovered soon, there is an urgent need to support all players involved in the education sector; from teachers, parents, learners and innovators to make sure that our children do not lose interest in their education. 

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