Schools in Kenya have closed for April holidays, both public and most private schools. Children are happy to get a break from school and studies, it is rare to find them studying, the younger ones play both in and out door games, watch TV and movies if allowed by their parents or guardians. The older ones either stay at home to watch TV, movies, read novels and magazines, they also roam around the estate and town, visit friends and the bad one end in wrong company taking drugs and alcohol, disappearing from home at night to visit clubs ending up in police cells when caught at night or in places were underage persons are not allowed. These are mainly activities of children in towns and developed areas.
Children in the rural areas without electricity may watch TV in urban centers otherwise they have a lot of activities like hunting, fishing and helping their parents with many duties like cultivating, planting, looking for water, herding livestock, fetching firewood etc.., though they are rarely idle like the ones in towns, they still find time to interact with people and other children. These are the times parents and guardians need to be very watchful of their children, talk to them and advise them because it is very easy for them to get into wrong company, get pregnant and also get infected by STDs and HIV.
Schools used to close for two weeks then students go back for the other two weeks for holiday tuitions. This was stopped in public schools by ministry of education, saying teachers have enough time to complete the syllabus on school days. The tuitions were also viewed as a way of teachers getting extra money from parents. Some parents were happy with this but many are not, because they feel their children need more time especially those in upper classes and also to avoid idleness during holidays. Since free education was introduced after 2002 elections, classes are congested with students; hence teachers are overwhelmed and cannot concentrate on all students within the term. Therefore many parents feel there is need for extra tuition to help teachers and the students. The case is different with private schools; holiday tuitions are on after two week’s break. Because of this many parents opt to enroll their children in holiday tuitions in private schools.
One challenge that parents are faced with now during these holidays is feeding children. Children have double appetite when they are on holiday. I think it is because of playing a lot and being idle. With the economic hardship it is really a challenge to many to put an extra meal on the table for energetic kids or any meal at all. This makes me wonder how kids in areas where people are starving due to famine and drought are surviving, there are many organizations with feeding programs in schools during school days, what happens now that the children are at home and the parents are also waiting for relief food? I hope the organizations are still feeding the children even when on holiday. When my kids demand too much I tell them to remember children who are starving.