Back to school is looking a little different this year. COVID-19 has affected every part of our lives, including how our children learn, and our home dynamics. By mid-April, it was estimated that more than 90% of the 1.57 billion primary and secondary students globally were out of school because of COVID-19. For children, school closures mean the loss of important learning opportunities, sometimes permanently if young adults drop out to support financially-strapped families and never re-matriculate. For adults, losing a job or being unable to leave home to work because of parental responsibilities may place many households in jeopardy of greater financial hardship.  

From our report series based on Viamo’s 3-2-1 Service COVID-19 Survey, we share with you our findings about the impacts that COVID-19 has had on school disruption. 

In partnership with researchers from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Viamo developed 12 separate questionnaires, each addressing a specific COVID-related topic (knowledge of COVID-19, attitudes towards the pandemic, preventive behaviors, motivation, impact on food security, income, mental health, etc.). We implemented the surveys in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, Madagascar, Malawi, and Rwanda. Results presented here are from Wave 1 of the Survey, collected in May. 


3 Key Takeaways on the Impacts of School Disruption

1. In nearly all countries, students stopped physically attending school. However, continuation of studies through home-schooling varies considerably. In Madagascar and Rwanda, more than two-thirds of children were continuing their studies. In the DRC, Malawi, and Nepal, only about half of children were continuing their studies at home.

Percentage of respondents with school-age children who reported their children stopped going to school due to coronavirus, and percentage who report their children continued their studies at home

2. The impact of children being out of school has important implications for labor force participation. In the DRC, Madagascar, and Rwanda, approximately three-quarters of adults with a child at home reported that they were less able to work because of the presence of children.

Percentage of parents with school-age children who reported they were less able to work because their children are at home

3. Coronavirus may have important impacts on the mental health of children. In all countries, most parents have spoken with their children about the virus. In Rwanda, more than three-quarters of children are reported to be worried about the virus. 

Percentage of respondents with school-age children who report that their children are worried about coronavirus

Read the Full Report Here


3 Ways Viamo is Helping Students Continue Learning

To address school disruption, Viamo is partnering with organizations to launch mobile curriculums.

  1. In the Democratic Republic of Congo we have partnered with Chemonics on the USAID/UKAID-funded ACCELERE!1 Project. The goal of the ACCELERE!1 Project is to improve equitable access to education and learning outcomes for youth in the DRC. Weekly pre-recorded audio lessons to improve reading and comprehension skills will be accessible via the 3-2-1 Service. Analytics from Viamo’s platform and follow up questions will monitor and track students’ progress and learning over a 4-month period.
  2. In Burkina Faso, we will support UNICEF’s radio education program which targets students whose schools are closed due to insecurity or COVID-19. The math and French lessons for children aged 10-17 are aired on local radio and promoted through SMS and voice messages. A summary of each course will be available through the 3-2-1 Service so that pupils can repeat key information and learn at their own pace. Additional knowledge assessment questions will help measure achievement and inform future lesson design.
  3. On our 3-2-1 Services in Tanzania, Nigeria, and Uganda, we host educational content for children and caregivers in partnership with Ubongo, Africa’s leading children’s edutainment and media company. By making this information available to students via simple mobile phones, their learning can continue, even while their lives are disrupted.

We are looking to partner with organizations to increase the depth and scale of this data collection exercise, as well as organizations that can help us take additional action to improve remote learning and address the needs of students and parents that have been highlighted by these results. Thank you in advance for your partnership and we look forward to sharing more highlights from the 3-2-1 COVID-19 Survey. 

Want to explore mobile engagement options for your projects? Get in touch with us and find out how we can expand your reach and impact!