Since December 2019, the entire world is facing the Covid -19 pandemic.
Particularly in Rwanda, the first case occurred in March 2020. Since then,all sectors have been paralyzed, including education. In order to fight its expansion, measures have been taken, including lockdown and wearing masks. The general lockdown took place at the end of May 2020 and it is now applied in high risk zones but the masks’ wearing is now on.
This pandemic affected the education sector. All the schools were submitted to the general closure from March 13th 2020. Since then the consequences became so enormous like:
- children were submitted to heavy works including fetching water under heavy sun, looking for firewood to a long distance,
- increment of sexual cases against children, non desired pregnancies, children accidents due to uncontrolled cases,
- increment of illnesses due non washing bodies,
- increment of violence against children
- increment of family misunderstanding
- increment of street children
- increment of children prostitution,theft,use of drugs, etc.
If the Covid -19 persists, the toddlers will suffer more. The number of children to attend schools will increase and the government will face a challenge of increasing infrastructure including classrooms, electricity, water for sanitation. A number of toddlers will be obliged to retake the same year; this will have the implications to the increment of the classrooms. This will be a challenge for the government, because the government will be obliged to increase the budget to afford such a situation. But also, a challenge of teachers and caregivers’ recruitment.
The government response to the case:
- The school’s closure was a response to the pandemic expansion.
- The use of technology was a response but it faces challenges because rural areas don’t have enough infrastructure (electricity) while the Ministry of Education has privileged to give lessons trough radios and television.
This choice was not applied because a big number of families can’t afford radios and television. This is really a big challenge to children education!
Léonard Ntibazubugingo, Country Director.