Zanzibar gets $1.5 million GPE education grant

The GPE-funded programme is closely aligned to existing education sector plans and the National Education Response and Recovery Plan for COVID-19

Zanzibar has received a $1.5 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to respond to COVID-19 (coronavirus)-related school closures and ensure that more than 520,000 children return to school safely, leaving no child left behind.

The grant is part of GPE’s $500 million COVID-19 response, which is helping countries respond to the  immediate and long-term disruptions to education caused by the pandemic.

The grant will also support the development of a back-to-school campaign to encourage students to return to school, targeting students who are the most at-risk of dropping out.

Hon. Riziki Pembe Juma, Minister of Education  and Vocational Training Zanzibar, acknolwedged the grant support from GPE to support continuity of learning through the pandemic. “The support, she said, will go a long way in ensuring that all children in Zanzibar make a safe return to school.

The GPE grant aimed to support two main areas: Mitigation and Response, during the crisis phase when schools are closed, to ensure that learning continues despite school closures; and Recovery phase for the period of school reopening ensuring that education systems are ready for a full return and continued quality learning of all students. As part of that, schools will be equipped with adequate hand washing facilities and water disinfectants to  prevent spread of infections.

Maha Damaj, Chief, Zanzibar Field Office, UNICEF Tanzania, welcomed the move by the Government to reopen schools. “The pandemic has resulted in profound learning losses for children and future human capital losses for their communities. The most marginalized children and communities will be the hardest hit. The grant will provide critical support to safe school opening and will help to recoup learning losses”, she said.

Even brief interruptions in education can have devastating consequences on children’s learning and wellbeing,” reiterated Alice Albright, GPE’s Chief Executive Officer. “These emergency funds from GPE will help Zanzibar ensure that no child’s education is left behind because of COVID-19.”

The GPE-funded programme is closely aligned to existing education sector plans and the National Education Response and Recovery Plan for COVID-19.

The GPE funding will strategically complement the funds available from within the Government of Zanzibar, development partners, and civil society supporting education development in Zanzibar.

Daniel Baheta, Chief, Education, UNICEF Tanzania, highlighted that “the funds will improve education sector resilience in the long-term by creating and promoting alternative ways of teaching and learning suitable for the diverse needs of students across the country; advocating and raising awareness on continuity of learning for all school children while at home; and improving the teaching and learning environment; as well as monitoring of learning outcomes”.

GPE’s support will help the Zanzibar, as part of the United Republic of Tanzania, create a more resilient and innovative education system fit for the future.

The grant will enable the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training to work with the Zanzibar Institute of Education, ICT Department, Centre for Digital Learning of the State University of Zanzibar and the Zanzibar Examinations Council to produce lessons for online and home learning and develop a digital learning assessment platform that could be expanded in the future.

GPE is also supporting the Ministry to prepare a National Education Sector Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Strategy to ensure that Zanzibar’s education sector is prepared for future crises that may affect teaching and learning.

UNICEF, as the Grant Agent for the GPE COVID 19 response grant, will support the Government of Zanzibar in planning, fiduciary oversight, quality assurance and reporting.

UNICEF will also offer technical support when needed and will work collaboratively with all stakeholders in the GPE Partnership and with USAID which is the Coordinating Agent. 

“UNICEF is honored to once again support Zanzibar as Grant Agent and help ensure every girl and boy has access to quality learning and is able to safely return to school after the Covid-19 pandemic is contained, said Shalini Bahuguna, Representative UNICEF Tanzania.

GPE is a multi-stakeholder partnership comprising developing countries and donor governments, international organizations, civil society organizations, foundations and the private sector.

It receives financial contributions from more than 20 donors and partners, including several who are active in Tanzania: UNESCO, the World Bank, UNICEF, the European Commission, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, the United Kingdom and a number of civil society organizations.

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