It also influences their prospects in life. Increasing the number and standard of school facilities was also found to be necessary in reducing the dropout rates, especially for adolescent girls.
This is why the Rwanda Education Board also established special rooms (Icyumba Cy'umukobwa) in schools for girls to ensure that they are clean all the time.
The National School Healthy Policy calls for extension of cleanliness in facilities such as classrooms, toilets and kitchens to prevent students from becoming sick. The policy also emphasises that hand washing and provision of gender-sensitive sanitation and menstrual care products are necessary for students at school.
A hygienic lifestyle encompasses both physical and emotional health. For children, good health and hygiene practices go hand-in-hand with effective learning. Equally, learning about having a healthy and hygienic lifestyle helps give children the independence and confidence to make well-informed decisions about their health, which have life-long implications.
This is how poor hygiene affects learning:
A child with poor personal hygiene may feel ostracised from school by the reactions of their peers, and often teaching staff are unsure of how to address the issue. For this child, the school environment can quickly become a very negative place, with their learning experiences becoming tainted by their social interactions.
"They can become withdrawn and lose a great deal of confidence," special educational needs teacher Sue Bishop, tells The News Times Kigali. "This then affects their motivation and stimulation to learn."
Lack of proper hygiene in children can also make them more susceptible to contracting illnesses such as stomach bugs, causing absences from school.
Learning about hygiene helps children begin to understand and make sense of different bodily functions.
Hygiene consolidates learning in curriculum areas, such science and physical education, giving real and physical examples of life-processes, such as breathing and sweating, and highlights links between food prep and food poisoning.
Help your child learn good hygiene
Model good hygiene yourself. For example, wash your hands before food prep
Ask your child to explain why they think we need to keep our bodies clean, you could discuss things such as smells and illnesses
Ask them when we need to be extra hygienic, such as after going to the toilet, or when touching food, and ask them what hygiene routine they need to carry out, such as hand-washing
Make sure your child has clean clothes to wear; you could even get them to watch you do the washing so they understand how it is done.
Image Credit: The News Times