Teachers in Kenya broadcast classes over community radio to keep refugee students learning after schools closed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Amina Hassan would usually stand in front of her class at Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya to deliver her lessons but after schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she spends that time at a radio station.

The Kenyan teacher broadcasts to her Grade Five class of around 100 over Radio Gargaar, a community station.

“Due to this coronavirus, the schools have been closed but education should go on and should not stop there,” she said.

With schools in Kenya closed indefinitely, radio lessons help teachers in Dadaab support over 100,000 students who attend the camp’s 22 primary and nine secondary schools.

“All of them don’t have the radio but some of them can access one at that time,” said Amina.

With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic globally, the needs of refugee children have become even more pressing. To ensure education continues, Kenya’s Ministry of Education along with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and other partners have devised creative approaches to enable home studies continue.

In South Africa the Basic Education Department Director-General, Mathanzima Mweli says schooling could resume on May 6, depending on the decision of Education Minister, Angie Motshekga.

Teacher unions have voiced concerns over the provision of water and sanitation facilities, personal protective equipment for staff and the ability of learners to practice physical distancing in crowded classrooms.

Speaking during a joint virtual Parliamentary Committee meeting on the future of the 2020 academic year, Mweli says the winter vacation will be shortened to a week.

“The school calendar for 2020 will be adjusted to have schools open on May 4, 2020 for teachers and May 6 for learners. The grades will be phased-in starting with Grade 7 and 12. The lost school days will be recovered by shortening the June holidays to five days and the September holidays to a long weekend in order to make up these days. The fourth term will also be lengthened to close on 9 December for learners and 11 December for teachers,” says Mweli.