GPE approves $400m for education to keep children learning amid COVID-19


The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has approved grants totaling $381m to help 47 countries respond to coronavirus-related school closure and ensure children continue to learn during the pandemic.

A further $20 million is being provided to a joint initiative managed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank, that will ensure regional and global efficiencies and knowledge sharing.

About 720 million students are still out-of-school in developing countries, where the combined impacts of school closures and economic hardship due to the coronavirus, threaten to reverse decades of hard-won gains in education. Girls are especially at risk, as they are more likely to have to take on household chores alongside remote learning. When girls are out of school, they are also more vulnerable to gender-based violence, early marriage and teenage pregnancy.

GPE Chief Executive Officer, Alice Albright said, “There is a real risk that millions of the most vulnerable children, especially girls, will never set foot in a classroom again. GPE is committed to ensuring that no child’s education is left behind because of COVID-19. Our emergency funds are helping partner countries keep children engaged in learning and make sure they can return when schools reopen.”

Developing country governments are using GPE funds to improve access to remote learning, support the safe reopening of schools and strengthen the resilience of the education sector to respond to future emergencies.

Remote learning solutions being applied in GPE partner countries vary widely, but three quarters rely on radio, television and print materials.

“These approaches ensure that the most marginalised children – those without access to internet connectivity or even electricity – are not falling too far behind. GPE works with partner countries to ensure that grants focus heavily on the most marginalized children, for example by providing materials adapted to children with learning disorders or disabilities, GPE Vice Board Chair, Serigne Mbaye Thiam said.

“It’s essential that distance learning programmes are reaching the poorest and most marginalized girls and boys and are not just accessible to the rich and able,” said “GPE’s emergency funding ensures that countries get technical and financial support to sustain learning for all their children.”

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