Experts have warned that children may never fully recover from the effects of staying out of school.
The effects of staying out of school for an extended period may even last a lifetime. Reports approved by the Ministry of Education’s Kenya Basic Education Covid-19 Emergency Response Plan confirm this unsettling fact.
Schools have always been a hub of social interaction. Currently, over 90,000 schools are closed in Kenya. Approximately 18 million pre-primary, primary and secondary students are stuck at home. They barely leave their houses or even play with their mates.
At the same time, around 300,00 teachers are idling at home. Approximately 150,000 refugee learners are stuck in their dingy camps.
“The closure of schools coupled with restricted movement with acute challenges around space among poor households may exacerbate cases of exposure to pornographic materials, drug, and substance abuse, increased rape, gender-based violence, including defilement of children,” the report by the Ministry of Education’s Kenya Basic Education Covid-19 Emergency Response Plan warns.
Additionally, the report states that there is a possibility that families may neglect, abuse, and segregate children with special needs. Unfortunately, the impact of loneliness during this period may last a lifetime if parents do not address it.
Children that come from low-income households are an unfortunate lot. Most of them depend on schools for their daily meals and other essential things like sanitary towels. Since schools are no longer open, they can not access these items. The children may never recover from the effects of lacking these items.
Several students may never resume school altogether. The prolonged closure of schools encourages child labor, child pregnancies, and early marriages.
The report states that closing school hurts a child’s prospects.
“Primary school is normally a crucial opportunity for gaps that emerged in early-years development to start narrowing, or at least to stop widening. That opportunity is now being missed,” the report states.