The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has praised the decision of the Kenyan government to reopen schools in the East African country.
Schools in Kenya have remained closed since March when the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country.
UNICEF Representative to Kenya, Maniza Zaman, said that the longer children are out of school, the greater the risk that the poorest among them will never return as some might get into child labour or get married off.
An estimated 21 per cent of children drop out of school at primary school level and Zaman says prolonged exposure means more children may drop out of the system.
She added that the closure of schools exposes adolescent girls to a higher risk of sexual abuse, HIV and teenage pregnancy.
The phased re-opening of school will see students in Grade 4, Class 8, and Form 4 resume learning.
UNICEF said the closure of schools in March this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, interrupted learning for over 17 million students who missed more than six months of formal education.
“As part of the UN family, UNICEF reaffirms its commitment to supporting the Government of Kenya during this unprecedented and challenging time,” Zaman said.
“As children return to school, we all need to come together to ensure that this transition is smooth for the learners, teachers, and the wider school community. In addition to supporting water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools, we will work with partners to provide parents with the reliable and accurate information they need. Finally, we hope that soon all learners can be safely back in school.”
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