20 Ministers of Education convene to share responses to COVID-19 (coronavirus)
May 21, 2020 by GPE Secretariat
3 minutes read
Ministers of Education from 20 GPE partner countries held a virtual discussion on May 7, 2020 to discuss their respective responses to the pandemic.
Ministers of Education from 20 GPE partner countries held a virtual discussion on May 7, 2020 to discuss their respective responses to the pandemic.

On May 7, 20 Ministers of Education from GPE partner countries discussed the multi-faceted approaches they are implementing to ensure children are continuing to learn while schools remain closed due to COVID-19.

Drawing from Sierra Leone’s experience during the Ebola crisis, the ministerial meeting was convened by David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education of Sierra Leone.

“What can we learn from each other? How can we look at the evidence, the history, expertise and response during Ebola and the response we have now to school closures? Where are the challenges, the loopholes, the gaps? What is the impact on girls?”
Minister Sengeh of Sierra Leone

As partners around the world mobilize to develop tools, approaches and strategies to respond to the pandemic, ministers on the frontline of the crisis are ensuring that learning continues so that millions of vulnerable children, especially the poorest girls and children with special needs, can benefit from distance learning efforts and return to school once the crisis is over.

In Cambodia, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, shared how the country is uploading video lessons to social media and an online platform to reach students at home.

“After COVID-19, we will continue with digital education. We will continue with TV stations and the use of both digital content and classroom teachers to further improve the quality of education in Cambodia,” said Minister Naron.

Similarly, Guinea is introducing a number of distance learning programs using radio, TV as well as Mboore, an online platform where learners can follow courses.

Mory Sangaré, Guinea’s Minister of National Education and Literacy, stated “In the medium- and long-term, COVID-19 is an opportunity for us to recognize the very weakness of our capabilities to respond to emergency situations. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that we build the resilience of our educational systems and deal with public health dynamics.”

The Minister of Education of the Maldives, Aishath Ali, shared concerns about the possible losses in learning, increased dropout rates, students with special needs and lack of trained school counselors.

“For the next pandemic or natural disaster that upsets our school systems, let us be more resilient and prepared. Let us consolidate what we have learned so far from this pandemic and produce shared resources. Let us document what has worked in different countries and share the experiences.”

Alice Albright, GPE’s Chief Executive Officer, congratulated the Ministers for their leadership in ensuring education continues for students during school closures, especially for the most vulnerable children.

“I think that at this very difficult moment, sharing experiences and lessons learned and ways forward is an absolutely vital thing to do to ensure that education can continue during the pandemic.”

Alice Albright

Resulting from the discussions, a statement will be presented to GPE’s Board of Directors during its June meeting.

Watch a recording of the discussion



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Cambodia, Guinea, Maldives, Sierra Leone

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