24 schools in 5 counties to be evaluated on Covid-19 effects on students
A group of local research teams will conduct a study to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of Kenyan primary and secondary school students.
Kajiado, Migori, Nairobi, Mombasa, and Elgeyo Marakwet are the counties where the research will be carried out.
Prof Micah Chepchieng of Egerton University leads a team of ten researchers from private and public universities, as well as the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, the Education Ministry, and the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development.
According to the researchers, Elgeyo Marakwet will serve as a control county in the study because it has historically had low positivity rates.
“Most interventions and studies conducted on Covid-19 tend to focus so much on the epidemiology of the disease and the interventions related to the physiological dimensions. However, we are keen on the mental and psychosocial wellbeing of the learner,” Grace Ngugi said on Monday.
Ngugi is the Deputy Director of KICD’s Department of Special Programs and a member of the research team.
In the spirit of leaving no learner behind, the study will be conducted in 12 primary schools, 12 secondary schools, and seven schools with learners with special needs.
The primary goals will be to assess the level of Covid-19 knowledge, attitude, behaviour, and practice among primary and secondary school students in selected counties.
Learners who meet the intervention threshold will receive mental health and psychosocial interventions.
“We shall evaluate the efficacy of mental health and psychosocial interventions in mitigating Covid-19 related effects. We will not just provide the interventions but we will be keen to follow very closely,” she said.
The team will also collect data and be able to identify learners who may be experiencing psychosocial problems or mental health issues as a result of Covid-19.
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Those who meet the threshold will be guided through an intervention strategy developed by the research team.
Throughout the study period, the expert team will conduct capacity building for teachers to handle mental health and psychosocial effects associated with Covid-19 among students.
The research findings are expected to be published within a year.