As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt life as we know it, the Kenyan government has introduced televised learning sessions on the EDU channel (a national program on TV), Radio sessions, and free access to books and related reading materials on the KICD online portal. Most parents and teachers in urban areas have not had significant problems accessing these resources while staying home.
However, for those in a rural setting, the situation is different. Marothiley primary school in Wajir county is located in a place with no network coverage, and no televisions are available on the grounds. The head-teacher has had just to hope that the parents will help their children use the available books while at home. The head-teacher is, however, lamenting that because the books are in limited supply, there is not much these parents can do for their children. Luckily, Marothiley is still young, and no candidates are waiting to sit for the national examination this year.
At Katisaa Primary School, the head-teacher reports that teachers are relying on parents to help their children watch the EDU channel and listen to the radio when individual sessions are aired. The situation is complicated, as in some families in the community, and they have no TV and no electricity. Further, the lack of network coverage makes it hard for the parents to access the free downloadable resources on the KICD website. The few available books are shared between five students living close to each other, with each getting a turn every day of the week.
At Kyalilini primary school, the head-teacher is grateful that more than 90% of the students can watch the EDU channel aired on TV and listen to the radio station. However, without adequate network coverage, there is so much that the students can learn during this period. Before releasing students from class four to class eight, each teacher at Kyalilini and other neighboring schools provided assignments for their students. According to the report the head-teachers have received from the parents, the students have already completed the work and could use a little guidance with some of the tasks assigned.
The books LFK bought and shipped to the 11 schools in these rural areas couldn’t have been sent at a better time! Students can now borrow a text, read at home, and return in a week to check-out another one.
At Waaso, Muamba, Waluku, Imwange, and other schools located farther from the nearest town, parents, teachers, and students can only hope that this pandemic will pass soon, so learning can resume.