GPE welcomes seven new partner countries from the Pacific Region
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Children playing outside in the Solomon Islands. Credit: East Asia and Pacific Photo Library / World Bank
Children playing outside. Solomon Islands
Credit: East Asia and Pacific Photo Library / World Bank

Seven new countries from the Pacific region joined the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) following the endorsement of their education sector plans by development partners. This raises the number of GPE partner countries to 76.

Six of these countries (Kiribati, the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu) join GPE under a regional education framework called the Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) 2018-2030: Moving Towards Education 2030, which was developed with GPE financial support. PacREF outlines a transformative regional education agenda aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 12-year framework promotes equitable access to high quality education by all Pacific Islanders with a view to enable their countries to effectively deal with the development challenges facing the Pacific region. The framework also encourages inclusivity and opportunities for equal access to education and training.

The education sector plan of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) covers the period 2020-2024. It was also developed with GPE’s support and aligns with the PacREF. The plan recognizes the importance for the country to work cooperatively within the Pacific region and to maintain a global focus on higher quality learning outcomes. The plan aims to improve the quality of learning particularly in reading and numeracy at all levels in safe, climate-resistant learning environments.

Even before formally joining GPE as partner countries, all seven island states have benefited from GPE’s COVID-19 emergency support: Each government received US$70,000 in April 2020 to plan their education response to the pandemic, with support from UNICEF. Additionally, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, FS Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu have also each received an accelerated grant of US$0.75 million to implement their response to possible disruptions and other negative influence to their education systems caused by COVID-19.

For example, the countries will use the grants to develop materials for remote learning through various platforms (paper-based, radio, video, online), train teachers in best practices for distance learning, provide psychosocial support to students, and ensure that the proper sanitary practices are in place when shools reopen.

Overall, GPE’s grant support to date to the seven countries reaches over US$7.8 million.

The coordinating agencies for the education sector in these countries are as follows: New Zealand for Samoa and Solomon Islands; Australia for Kiribati, Tonga and Tuvalu; Pacific Resources for Education and Learning for FS Micronesia; and UNICEF for Marshall Islands.

GPE grants to date

Country Grant Type Year Allocation Grant Agent
Kiribati COVID-19 accelerated grant 2020 $750,000 UNICEF
COVID-19 emergency planning 2020 $70,000 UNICEF
Sector plan development 2019 $499,768 UNICEF
Sector plan development 2015 $200,000 UNICEF
Marshall Islands COVID-19 accelerated grant 2020 $750,000 UNICEF
COVID-19 emergency planning 2020 $70,000 UNICEF
Sector plan development 2018 $235,076 ADB
Sector plan development 2016 $ 204,814 ADB
FS Micronesia COVID-19 accelerated grant 2020 $750,000 UNICEF
COVID-19 emergency planning 2020 $70,000 UNICEF
Program development 2020 $297,213 UNICEF
Sector plan development 2018 $250,000 ADB
Sector plan development 2015 $231,988 ADB
Pacific region (includes Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu) Program development 2020 $389,875 ADB
Sector plan development 2017 $200,000 ADB
Samoa COVID-19 accelerated grant 2020 $750,000 UNICEF
COVID-19 emergency planning 2020 $70,000 UNICEF
Solomon Islands COVID-19 accelerated grant 2020 $750,000 UNICEF
COVID-19 emergency planning 2020 $70,000 UNICEF
Sector plan development 2020 358,374 UNICEF
Tonga COVID-19 accelerated grant 2020 $750,000 Save the Children
COVID-19 emergency planning 2020 $70,000 UNICEF
Tuvalu COVID-19 accelerated grant 2020 $750,000 UNICEF
COVID-19 emergency planning 2020 $70,000 UNICEF
Children playing outside in the Solomon Islands. Credit: East Asia and Pacific Photo Library / World Bank
Children playing outside. Solomon Islands
Credit: East Asia and Pacific Photo Library / World Bank
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