Since the first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was announced in Kenya, many aspects of society and the education sector have been dramatically affected. On March 15th 2020, the Kenyan government closed all learning institutions countrywide to contain the spread of the virus. As the numbers of those infected by coronavirus rose to over 8,000, the Cabinet Secretary for education Prof George Magoha announced on July 7th that the “2020 school calendar year will be considered lost due to COVID-19 restrictions”. This announcement has repercussions for over 18 million students across the country whose learning has been thrown into limbo threatening the loss of education gains and the implementation of a new competency based curriculum.
Education and Childhood Development in Kenya
For children and parents, education is vital as it gives students opportunities for growth, development and hope for a brighter future. Losing out on learning could have adverse effects on developmental milestones for children across Kenya. The decision by the government means that current students will need to repeat an entire school year and will graduate one year later than expected. School intakes for Standard 1, Form 1 and pre-primary will not take place in January 2021. National exams which were due later in the year have also been cancelled and Standard Eight and Form Four students who were to sit the exams this year will do so in 2021. The last time the education sector experienced a crisis like this was following a coup attempt in 1982. Colleges and universities were closed for nine months.
Kenswed is reaching families who struggled daily to feed themselves even before COVID-19 and have now lost incomes because of the pandemic and restrictions to contain its spread.