Effect of Corona Virus on Education in Kenya

By Anthony M. Wanjohi and Jeff Koine: On the 31st December 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. From 31 December 2019 through 3 January 2020, a total of 44 case-patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology were reported to WHO by the national authorities in China. During this reported period, the causal agent was not identified. On 11 and 12 January 2020, WHO received further detailed information from the National Health Commission China that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market in Wuhan City. The Chinese authorities identified a new type of coronavirus, which was isolated on 7 January 2020. WHO recommends that the interim name of the disease causing the current outbreak should be “2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease” (where ‘n’ is for novel and ‘CoV’ is for coronavirus). WHO announced “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease on 11 February 2020, following guidelines previously developed with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Symptoms: The symptoms of corona virus are characterized by intense respiratory ailment (fever and at any rate one sign of respiratory sickness, for instance, cough and shortness of breath; and with no other etiology that completely clarifies the clinical introduction.

Preparedness and Response: World Health Organization (WHO) recommends several basic measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 including the following:

  1. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  3. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
  4. Stay home when you are sick.
  5. If you have fever and a dry cough which are most common symptoms contact healthcare.
  6. DON’T touch your face.
  7. DON’T travel if you have a fever and cough.
  8. DON’T wear a face mask if you are well.

Effects of Corona Virus on Education in Kenya’s Context

As of 16th March 2020, all primary and day schools were given an executive order to close all around the country. Sub-sequently the Colleges and Universities were ordered to close the same week. The closures were as a result of one of positive confirmation of Covid 19 in Kenya.

Some of the effects associated with Corona Virus outbreak include the following:

  1. Syllabus Coverage: For kids, school closure means lost learning time, which can have long-term effects. In some cases, it can also mean less time for effective syllabus coverage. This will result to a poor overall grade performance to advance to the next grade or class.
  2. Social Distancing: Social distancing is key in curbing the spread of Covid 19. Schools shut down indefinitely in Kenya creates stigma to children for lack of understanding as to why the separation.
  3. Work disruption: For single parents or both working parents, a sudden school closure can interfere with their work schedule. This may force them to find alternative plan of getting a private tutor or house help to look after the children.
  4. Economic Effect: School closure is expected to have a far-reaching negative economic effect. Schools will not also be able to meet their bills as some depend upon parents’ contribution.
  5. General anxiety: Anxiety over coronavirus outbreak remains high mainly due to increased interaction between Kenyans and the Chinese. With two daily non-stop flights between Nairobi and Guangzhou, China, the panic in Kenya may be understandable. But while Kenyans are worried over the importation of the virus from China, evidence shows the threat of an outbreak is even bigger from within

The Way Forward for Education

Virtual Learning Systems: Group child care arrangements can be a solution to school disruptions. Moreover, Kenya as a country does not have systems in place to facilitate such arrangements. Virtual Learning Systems would be convenient but are very expensive and not every home can afford to have them in place. However, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) will continue to provide lessons through radio. Other virtual learning outlets include online e-learning resources sites such as Schools Net Kenya among others. Directives from the Kenya Ministry of Education will also be used to inform the way forward as far as education in coronavirus era is concerned.


Gatonye, G. (2020). Research suggesting presence of strains of corona virus in Kenya. Retrieved from https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/health/article/2001358737/research-suggests-presence-of-strains-of-corona-virus-in-kenya

WHO (2020). Situation report on corona virus. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200314-sitrep-54-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=dcd46351_6

Suggested Citation

Wanjohi, M.W. & Geoffrey, K. (2020). Effects of Corona Virus on Education in Kenya. Available online at https://www.schoolsnetkenya.com/articles/2020/effect-of-corona-virus-on-education-in-kenya.pdf

For more e-learning resources to support virtual learning for your child at home, kindly CONTACT Schools Net Kenya Team

Click to access a printer-friendly version