Status of the Coronavirus in the country
Rwanda had its first case of Coronavirus on March 14th. Large gatherings were no longer permitted, and schools were closed. The government requested that businesses move to remote online working if possible.
Arriving and departing commercial flights were halted on March 20th, and a full lockdown imposed on March 21st. This included:
- Closed borders with exception of transportation of goods and cargo
- No travelling permitted between cities and districts
- No public transportation
- Electronic payments and online banking highly encouraged, and fees waived for digital transactions as well as daily limits to incentivize people to use digital channels
- The central bank extended a lending facility worth USD 53M to allow banks with liquidity challenges to borrow for the next 6 months
- Only businesses providing essential services were permitted to be open
As it stands today, the lockdown will be active through April 19th, and then revisited based on the situation at that time.
The impact on my industry
EDUCATION & TRAINING
As a university, we had to move all classes online and all employees are now working from home.
We were fortunate to have the right people and infrastructure in place to make this transition fairly seamlessly. We had to ensure all of our students were equipped with stable internet to continue their learning online, and have availed the necessary support to adapt to changing needs.
However, as an industry, it has revealed the inequities in the education system, in Africa and worldwide, and the magnitude of the digital divide. Many schools don’t have the capacity to provide remote instruction, and certainly not on short notice as the lockdown required. Remote instruction and online learning requires students to have access to a device and internet. For many students, this is both unaffordable and inaccessible. Students from middle to high income families, or well resourced schools, have been able to continue their learning at home, while their peers are left behind.
When normal activity resumes, the education sector will need to readjust school schedules, exam schedules, etc. to account for the varying levels of disruption at the school level as well as individual learners.