Malawi has received K7.5 billion from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to train teachers and procure solar powered radios so that children should continue to learn amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money will support the COVID-19 education response in Malawi for the next two years.
In a statement dated 27 May, UNICEF Malawi said the grant aims to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on education by minimizing the loss of learning and supporting the recovery of the education system.
The GPE funds will be used to train teachers and education managers to teach remotely in an effective manner; disseminate public awareness messages encouraging parents to support home-learning and procure solar powered radios and tablets to make digital learning possible for children with limited or no access to electricity.
It will also be used to set up a toll-free telephone hotline service to provide additional support to students and parents who are struggling with their lessons.
“[The money will ensure] that all children, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, continue to receive quality education in a safe home environment and are assisted to continue their learning in safe school environment after the reopening of schools,” said UNICEF in its statement.
Since the closure of schools in March 2020, the Government of Malawi has been working with partners to provide alternative learning platforms to more than seven million school-age children whose education was disrupted due to COVID 19.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. William Susuwele Banda said the funds will support schools and teachers to help learners particularly those who may need remedial support when schools reopen.
“We applaud the contribution of the GPE and other development partners in working with the government to foster continuity of learning for all children,” he said.
The Ministry of Education with support from UNICEF will oversee the overall coordination and implementation of the project, including ensuring timely reporting on progress of activities to the GPE Secretariat.
UNICEF Malawi Representative, Rudolf Schwenk noted that the impact of the pandemic on children is immediate and, if unaddressed, may have implications throughout their lives.
“An entire generation of students could suffer damage to their learning and potential. This grant is timely and will contribute to ensuring a whole generation of children and young people are not left behind in Malawi,” said
On its part, the GPE expressed commitment to supporting the Malawi education sector COVID-19 response.
“The Global Partnership for Education is proud to support the Government of Malawi in its efforts to ensure that no child’s education is left behind due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Alice Albright, GPE’s Chief Executive Officer.