Cabo Verde: A safe return to school

Thanks to the GPE grant and support from other partners, Cabo Verde made sure that children’s learning wasn't interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic and that students can safely return to school.

May 11, 2021 by GPE Secretariat
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4 minutes read
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Health safety: monitoring the temperature of students as they enter school in Paiol, Praia. Credit: UNICEF Cabo Verde
Health safety: monitoring the temperature of students as they enter school in Paiol, Praia.
Credit: Credit: UNICEF Cabo Verde

Masks, protective gowns, gloves, gels, soaps, eco-friendly handwashing stations and thermometers have been provided to schools in Cabo Verde to help ensure the effectiveness of the new health measures.

Having received hygiene kits and personal protective equipment, schools in the Praia region, the country's capital and the area most affected by the pandemic, were able to reopen their doors on November 2, 2020.

Schools in other parts of the country had reopened as planned on October 1, 2020, thanks to GPE funding, which helped improve sanitary conditions and promote compliance with the new health standards.

New hygiene measures

A teacher dispenses soap to a student at Humberto Duarte Silva School, São Vicente. Credit: UNICEF Cabo Verde
A teacher dispenses soap to a student at Humberto Duarte Silva School, São Vicente.
Credit:
UNICEF Cabo Verde

All 434 public schools have received GPE grant support and are operating normally, benefiting from improved conditions and respecting the health standards in place.

The GPE accelerated grant of US$750,000 approved in June 2020 has helped the Ministry of Education improve health safety conditions in schools.

Training teachers in the use of digital platforms

In order to prevent the disruption of the education system, Cabo Verde put in place a number of measures during the period of school closures to support continuity of learning. These included training teachers in the use of distance learning tools.

Under the watchful eye of her teacher, a grade 4 student plays the "Sabãozinho" online educational game on COVID-19 prevention - Nova Assembleia School, Praia. Credit: UNICEF Cabo Verde
Under the watchful eye of her teacher, a grade 4 student plays the "Sabãozinho" online educational game on COVID-19 prevention - Nova Assembleia School, Praia.
Credit:
UNICEF Cabo Verde

The GPE grant has also supported the training of teachers in the use of digital platforms as well as in the creation of content tailored for this type of learning.

This training was considered essential to ensure the smooth functioning of the distance learning platform of the Ministry of Education (E-ME), as well as of the other selected platforms (Teams, Google Classroom, etc.). By partnering with national and multinational enterprises, the country was able to connect teachers and families on a cost-effective basis. The participating companies include:

  • The Nucleo Operacional da Sociedade de Informação (NOSI), which provided technical support to enable the distance learning platforms (such as Moodle);
  • TMais and CVTelecom, telecommunications companies that provided free packages to enable connectivity to public e-gov sites; and
  • Microsoft Office, which provided Office 365 software.

The GPE grant helped increase the skills of the majority of primary and early secondary school teachers in the use of distance learning tools as a complement to face-to-face instruction: 3,445 teachers (including 2,294 women) were trained.

Furthermore, thanks to the GPE grant and support from other partners, 32 teachers were trained in production techniques, producing lessons that were broadcast on national television and radio, as well as via educational radio and community radio stations. These lessons promoted continuity of learning for children between April and July 2020, when schools were closed.

Adaptation to distance learning

Given the challenges associated with the pandemic and the reduction in the number of hours of in-person instruction, the project provided ongoing support to teachers in the production of educational television classes for the 2020/2021 school year. These courses serve as a complement to classroom teaching.

The project also helped finance the distribution of printed learning materials to 14,195 students (including 7,191 girls) during the school closures.

Project activities included the provision of printers, paper and ink, the payment of transport costs, and the financing of adequate health protection measures to ensure that the necessary supplies could be delivered to children in remote areas, including those without access to a TV or radio signal or those without the internet connectivity necessary to support online programs.

The Ministry of Education is planning to launch an educational television channel as a distance learning tool to complement the online platform. The project is currently in the pilot phase and is operated with technical assistance from the private sector, particularly Green Studio, an audiovisual company that provided technical support for broadcasting lessons via television and set up an online platform to provide lessons for students.

By late May 2020, the UNICEF office in Cabo Verde had also already received a GPE grant of $70,000 to support the Ministry of Education in its response to the pandemic, including programs to disseminate information on the risks of COVID-19 and collect data on the impact of the pandemic on the education system.

A grade 4 primary school student uses a tablet to play the "Sabãozinho" game, an educational game on COVID-19 prevention - "Nova Assembleia" School, Praia. Credit: UNICEF Cabo Verde
A grade 4 primary school student uses a tablet to play the "Sabãozinho" game, an educational game on COVID-19 prevention - "Nova Assembleia" School, Praia.
Credit:
UNICEF Cabo Verde

The grant was used, among other purposes, to produce a video promoting distance learning for children via radio and TV, in the form of an educational game on COVID-19 (www.sabaozinho.com).

This article was produced in collaboration with the UNICEF office in Cabo Verde.

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