Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Free Webinar - Crude Oil Trading 2023 | Thursday, February 9, 2023 | 01:00PM PST Enroll Now

Chickens roost in Kenya's empty classrooms amid COVID-19 shutdown

Coronavirus Sep 10, 2020 04:21AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
3/3 © Reuters. Chicks are seen drinking in a classroom converted into a poultry house because of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the town of Wang'uru 2/3

By Edwin Waita

MWEA, Kenya (Reuters) - Rows of spinach sprout in the sports field where the students of Roka Preparatory school once played football, and clucking chickens fluff their feathers in sawdust-covered classrooms where children once sweated over their exams.

No students have thundered down these eerily quiet corridors since March, when Kenya abruptly closed its schools three days after the first case of COVID-19 was detected. The loss of income means some private schools will shut permanently.

"I had to think of how to use the classrooms because they were haunting," James Kung'u, the school's director, told Reuters as he tended vegetables in the fields around 100 kilometres (62 miles) northeast of the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

"When you wake up in the morning, and you find the empty classes looking at you - as an investment, (it's) very discouraging."

Kenya's 11,400 private primary and secondary schools serve about 2.6 million students, the Kenya Private Schools Association says. They vary from bare classrooms charging a few thousand shillings a term to ultra-manicured campuses serving the nation's elite.

Peter Ndoro, the association's chairman, said around 150 schools have already gone bust. Most of the 158,000 teachers working in private schools are on unpaid leave, he said.

While some schools have been able to oversee distance learning, in others the pupils - and the teachers - have no way to connect to the internet. They have to look for creative ways to make money.

But Kung'u said turning to farming means Roka, which had 530 pupils in March, will not close. He said to date, the school had lost at least 20 million shillings ($184,500) in school fees but was still paying partial salaries to teachers.

Schools are expected to stay closed at least until January. Kenya's education ministry says they can only reopen when the number of COVID-19 cases drops substantially.

As of Sept.9, Kenya had 35,460 confirmed coronavirus cases, 607 deaths and 21,557 recoveries, the health ministry said. The rise began to slow in August but its unclear whether that is due to lower rates of testing due to a shortage of materials.

Chickens roost in Kenya's empty classrooms amid COVID-19 shutdown

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your profile, will be public on and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email