GPE and the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic

As COVID-19 closes schools around the world,  GPE  is supporting partner countries to  deal with the disruptions to education systems leaving millions of children out of school.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is not just a health emergency - it is creating an education crisis. As schools close around the world, GPE is supporting developing countries to deal with the impact of the pandemic, which has left hundred of millions of children out of school.

Situation as of April 1st, 2020

Partner countries with school closures: 64

Children out of school in partner countries: 383 million

Source: UNESCO


The challenge

For millions of children in developing countries, schools provide more than an opportunity to learn. They are a lifeline, providing access to health care, nutritious meals and other vital services, and shielding millions of children from violence and exploitation.

The longer vulnerable children - girls, children from poor families, displaced and refugee children, children living with a disability - are away from school, the less likely they are to be able to return.

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has disrupted education on a scale the world has never seen. We must act swiftly to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on children in developing countries, keep children safe and learning, and ensure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind.

Our response

GPE has mobilized rapidly to provide financial and technical support to partner countries to cope with the impacts of the pandemic.

We are committed to:

  • Mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable children by ensuring that learning can continue, supporting schools and teachers to safely resume education, and ensuring the poorest and most marginalized are not left behind.
  • Mobilizing finance to support system-wide solutions that will enable developing countries to meet immediate needs, enable a speedy recovery, and build resilience and preparedness to face future crises.
  • Align support to developing countries behind government priorities and coordinated actions.

Kick-starting our response

As a first step to ensure resources were quickly available to the countries that needed them most, GPE provided US$8.8 million in emergency funding to UNICEF. The funding is addressing urgent priorities in 87 countries and helping governments coordinate response planning, communicate around safe school operations, share knowledge and build capacity.

On April 1st, GPE announced US$250 million to help 67 developing countries mitigate the immediate and long-term impacts of disruptions to their education systems caused by the pandemic. The funds will help sustain learning for up to 355 million children, with a focus on girls and children from the poorest families.

Alignment and coordination

GPE is working with all its partners, using our network to share information, learning and experiences on how to respond to the pandemic's impact on education.

GPE also promotes coordinated responses to the pandemic and supports local education groups to meet education needs in partner countries.

GPE participates in the Global Education Coalition for COVID-10 Response organized by UNESCO.

GPE eligible countries


Useful resources from our partners

  • Affected countries and school closures

    UNESCO regularly updates the list of countries that have partially or completely closed their education systems, including the number of children affected.

  • Distance learning resources

    Compiled by UNESCO, the list includes website, apps, systems, MOOCs, and resources for learning using on mobile phones and offline, as well as tools to create digital content.

  • National distance learning platforms

    A list of available distance learning site by country.

  • Free access to learning services

    Partners in the Global Business Coalition for Education are making access to some of their learning and collaboration services free for students, teachers and parents.