The Impacts of COVID-19 on students in Botswana

Schools Are Closed. Due to the Corona Virus pandemic, students in Botswana are fundamentally conflicted about their education. Keneilwe, a recent graduate from the University of Botswana, gave a few comments about the unforeseen circumstances students from government institutions are facing.

Although some University of Botswana students remain optimistic about their education being resumed approximately in June/July, what about students in our public primary and secondary schools? Coronavirus has been slow to take root in Botswana but the number of cases are now beginning to grow.

"Students have been affected due to schools being closed in response to the pandemic, which can then lead to cancellation of exams." Says Keneilwe. " The impact is more severe for underprivileged students and their families. First and foremost, it's learning interrupted. Schooling institutions provide an essential skills and when they are closed, students are deprived of opportunities for growth and development."

"In Botswana, most students in rural areas lack access to technology; items such as smart phones, computers, printers or even internet connection. The truth is, these same students are from disadvantaged families, which prevent them from joining in continue'd learning from home like students who attend private school. Another shortcoming is that, some parents did not get a full education, therefore if parents are asked to facilitate learning at home, they are more than likely going to struggle to perform this task."

" When schools are closed, students miss out on social contact which in my opinion is an essential part of learning and development. The social activity and human interaction aspect of it is therefore neglected. Social contact also helps student to cope with stress, knowing that they are valued by others is an important factor in helping them move on from the negative aspects of live. Students also benefit an increase in self-esteem."

Is there a solution?

"There are a few I can think of. How about the installation of free internet near homes?

Ministry of education can start the use of distance learning programs, open education applications and platform that schools and teachers can use to reach students and not limit the disruption of education. Government can reach out to families in need during these tough times. And acts just as simple as families caring for one another, playing games, watching TV together to avoid being bored."

Women Engineers Botswana urges everyone to stay home and stay safe.

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