Guinea reported its first case of COVID-19 on March 12, 2020. A few days later, the Guinean government declared a state of health emergency and, on March 24, 2020, ordered all of the country’s schools to close.
As a result, 14,326 schools were closed. This measure affected nearly 3 million students from preschool to the secondary level in a country where, according to the 2016 Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) of Guinea, almost 1.5 million children between the ages of 5 and 16 (44%) were already not in school.
The government’s response plan and financial support from GPE
In an effort to curb the pandemic, a response plan was developed and has been implemented with support from all the partner organizations active in this sector. The plan calls for a coordinated response aimed at ensuring the continuity of the learning process and safely reopening the country’s schools. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) approved a US$7 million grant in early June 2020 through its COVID-19 accelerated funding window to support the plan. UNICEF is the grant agent.
Coordination of the response has been made possible by reactivating the education cluster and by producing, distributing, and publicizing handbooks, posters, pamphlets, and other training, communication and informational materials on COVID-19 prevention.
Monthly coordination meetings and joint follow-up missions have strengthened intrasectoral dialogue during this emergency and have supported the work involved in monitoring and reporting on the steps taken under the response plan to reduce the impact of the pandemic in the education and training sector.
Support tailored to students’ needs
In order to ensure the continuity of learning, lessons have been produced and broadcast over television, radio, and the MBOORE digital platform that has been developed to enable students to continue their studies via the Internet.
In areas where there is no radio or television coverage and no Internet signal, hardcopy instructional materials have been prepared and distributed to students.