Tonga is among the few countries in the world where there hasn’t been a single case of COVID-19 yet. However, the country is still dealing with the widespread destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Harold, which hit Tonga in April 2020.
The cyclone’s breadth of damage included a major impact to education continuity for 2,000 students, as 20% of primary schools and 30% of secondary schools were affected.
Should a COVID-19 outbreak occur in the country, it will compound the challenges already posed by Tropical Cyclone Harold, causing even greater disruption to the education system.
It is estimated that the combined effect would lead to the closure of 181 schools in five regions of the country and affect over 21,300 students and 1,600 teachers. Without access to appropriate standardized and inclusive home-schooling learning resources, the impact of the pandemic can be far reaching.
To mitigate disruption to children’s learning, the government of Tonga is ensuring that contingency plans are in place to respond quickly and mitigate learning loss, ensure education continuity, and strengthen the education system to be more resilient to future threats.