To ensure that children who don’t have access to technology continue learning, learning kits from preschool to primary school will be distributed to students living in the most remote areas of the country.
The learning kits will be adapted to meet the needs of out-of-school children, children with low levels of literacy, students attending second chance education centers, and children with disabilities. Visually impaired students will obtain braille and large print materials; children with hearing impairment will be supported by sign language interpretation.
Teachers are vital to the implementation of education response to COVID-19 and need to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to support remote learning. Therefore, teachers will be trained on delivering remote lessons and conducting psychosocial well-being assessments with students. Special training on how to effectively teach children with disabilities through remote learning will also be provided.
Parents and caregivers play a key role in supporting learning continuity by creating a home environment conducive to learning, encouraging children to engage in learning activities from home, and facilitating a daily learning schedule. With this in mind, parents and caregivers will receive a parenting kit with recommendations on how to employ positive discipline at home to support home-based learning.
Going back to school
The GPE grant will support a national back-to-school campaign to promote students’ return to school while announcing the safety measures that have been established. Key messages will be disseminated through TV, radio, newspaper, SMS and online in English and Tok Pisin – an official language in PNG.
Students living in targeted areas affected by COVID-19 will receive incentive kits, including learning materials, solar lamps and stationery to motivate them to go back to school. Teachers, inspectors and education officers will also receive incentive kits including stationary materials and attendance registers along with guidance to reopen schools safely.
The rapid assessment concluded that 89% of schools do not have sufficient soap and water, and therefore can’t provide a safe environment to welcome returning students. In selected areas, GPE will support a rapid audit at schools of water, sanitation and hygiene, and install handwashing stations where needed, along with the distribution of hygiene kits.
Despite the availability of remote learning during school closures, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted learning to different degrees at all levels of the education system. Additionally, regular activities, including the distribution of teaching and learning materials, school census and national assessments, have been hampered.
To overcome these challenges, the GPE funding will help develop a student assessment tool to enable teachers to understand the learning gaps and provide booster classes to students. Furthermore, education officers and inspectors will be trained to support teachers and students to mitigate stress and gender-based violence, while ensuring students are better prepared for national examinations.
A resilient education system
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic provides opportunities to introduce school-based disaster risk management planning to make the education system more resilient to future crises.
The new learning materials will expand the availability of resources while strengthening the capacity of mainstream schools to deliver inclusive education. These learning packages will provide the additional benefit of creating a new mechanism for out-of-school children to engage with the education system.
Additionally, to capture successful approaches and lessons learned during the pandemic, schools will be supported to develop a disaster risk management plan, which they can use to implement risk mitigation and preparedness activities as well as quickly respond to and recover from future emergencies.