KIRINYAGA, Kenya (AP) — Chickens have replaced students in one Kenyan school as struggling educators make what money they can after the country’s studies were called off until January.
Private schools in the East African nation say they are hit especially hard. More than 300,000 staff are mostly on unpaid leave until classes resume, said Peter Ndoro, CEO of Kenya’s Private Schools Association.
In the classroom-turned-poultry farm, owner Beatrice Maina called the situation “a disaster as far as academics is concerned.” Her Mwea Brethren School is normally attended by over 300 children and has 20 full-time teachers. But all have been sent home.
As the economy sputters, Maina is raising a different flock altogether in the empty classrooms.
Blackboards now display her notes on chicken rearing. Dates of deworming and data for feed have long replaced multiplication tables.
Maina’s not alone. Some colleagues have ventured into other businesses.
“I hope even my teachers are still doing something because life must continue,” she said.
Schools in Kenya have been closed since March. Public schools are in a slightly better state because the government is paying some salaries for teachers and staff, Ndoro said.
He worries about the spirits of his colleagues.
“This has really affected our teachers and we do not know if they will have the ... morale to come back,” he said.