How Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania Kept Schools Open Amid Covid-19 Grip
In mid-March 2020 Kenya closed schools to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus but after nine months, in January 2021, it reopened the school gates to 16 million learners despite concerns. Following a seven week break, schools reopened for a thrid term crash academic programme on May 10 to July 16, 2021. In May 2021 Kenya had vaccinated 143,525 of its teachers.
For Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni ruled out any re-opening of schools in October 2020 and Education Minister Janet Museveni reaffirmed that continued closure of schools was intended to safeguard the health and lives of the learners. While Uganda has had about 121,687 Covid-19 cases and 3,106 deaths, Museveni, who sent home an estimated 15 million learners in June 2021, has preferred to err on the side of caution. Uganda's schools remain closed but has fully vaccinated 88,825 of its teachers.
Tanzania, which has been unenthusiastic to share its Covid-19 data, reopened scools at the end of July 2020 following their closure in March 2020. Tanzania's late president John Magufuli ordered that all schools be opened - the first country in East Africa to do so.
In August 2021, Rwanda reopened learning institutions for the third term after the government lifted the 15-day lockdown on the capital Kigali and eight other districts. The lockdown had been imposed in June 2020, following a spike in infections, a rise in the number of deaths and the existence of the Delta variant.
The country's ministry of education has said that local authorities will offer necessary facilitation to make sure that learning recommences, while observing Covid-19 protocols.
Education Chief Administrative Secretary Sarah Ruto addressing KCSE candidates at St.Peters Mumias Boys High School in Kakamega County, Kenya on March 29, 2021 (file photo).