The situation in Kenya is likely to be worse after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered schools, including TVET institutions and universities, to close for the second time in a span of 12 months.
The school dropout rate is likely to go higher due to increased early pregnancies, forced marriages, child labour, sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, lack of school fees, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and drug peddling, among other factors.
The State Department of Early Learning and Basic Education can hardly account for thousands of pupils who failed to report when schools re-opened on January 4, 2021 and hundreds who failed to sit for KCPE and the ongoing KCSE examinations. School closures carry high socio-economic costs for families. Their impact is particularly severe for the most vulnerable and marginalised families.
The resulting disruptions exacerbate already existing disparities within the education system and other aspects of their lives.
The nationwide school closure last year disrupted the learning of almost 97 per cent of students.
A majority of children received no education after schools closed, neither did they receive instructions nor interacted with their teachers.
Students studied fewer topics or less content through distance learning. Many learners shared feelings of stress, anxiety, isolation and depression, which they linked to the lack of contact with their school community.