Kenya’s Decision to Cancel Its School Year Will Reverberate Across Africa

Kenya’s Decision to Cancel Its School Year Will Reverberate Across Africa
Children run down a street past a mural warning people about the dangers of the coronavirus, Nairobi, Kenya, June 3, 2020 (AP photo by Brian Inganga).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

Bowing to the reality that they cannot prevent the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms full of students and teachers, Kenyan officials canceled the 2020 school year in July, at its midpoint. The implications of the decision will be felt not only domestically, where a nearly year-long break in learning could widen educational disparities, but also across the continent.

Kenya initially suspended classes back in mid-March, days after the country’s first COVID-19 case and early in its academic year, which begins in January. Some schools moved online, and the government began broadcasting lessons over the radio and television, but students without access to those resources began to rapidly fall behind. That realization contributed to the decision in July to scrap the school year altogether and restart it in 2021.

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