Allocation: US$7 million
Grant agent: UNICEF
The US$7 million COVID-19 grant supports:
- learning continuity during school closures through distance learning and facilitating smooth integration of children to schools after reopening
- Sensibilization and prevention activities for children and parents (WASH kits)
- continued learning for the most vulnerable children (girls, children from the poorest households, refugee, returnee and internally displaced children, and children with disabilities) including through the provision of learning kits and radios
- teacher training of on gender-based violence, psychosocial support and hygiene, with special emphasis on girls and other vulnerable groups
- building a more resilient education system with a longer-term vision (i.e. tents will be added to increase schools’ capacities to host children and decrease the student/classroom ratio for social distancing)
- partnership both at the central and local levels with the involvement of parents, CSOs and decentralized ministry services.
In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Central African Republic received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education in planning its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Education in the Central African Republic
The education system in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been significantly impacted by prolonged periods of conflicts. Some regions are still under rebel control and not accessible by government services. About 24 districts (sous-prefectures) out of 71 suffer from alarming situations due to the volatile security context. Many schools are closed in these districts, which are characterized by a lack of human and material resources to operate schools, and precarious living conditions for the communities.
The security situation has led to massive displacements including to Bangui, where the number of private schools has increased and represents about half of basic education schools. In other regions, the share of private schools ranges from 6 to 20%.
Despite this situation, the government is committed to education as a key lever for the country’s recovery and for its economic development. The Education Sector Plan for the 2020-2029 period demonstrates a strong political will to address the many large-scale challenges through its 4 strategic axes:
- Access to education and equity
- Recruitment and training of teachers
- Quality of learning
- Governance and education spending.
The education sector is managed by four ministries: the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MEPS); the Ministry of Technical Education and Literacy (META); the Ministry of Higher Education (MES), and the Ministry of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation (MRSIT). This makes the coordination of education sector reforms more challenging.
The country has a regulatory framework for non-public schools, which are categorized as either private for-profit schools, community schools or religious schools. A directorate of private education and partnership (“Direction de l’Enseignement Privé et du Partenariat”) is in charge of ensuring the implementation of rules and regulations defined by the law.
Religious schools may be subsidized through an agreement with the government according to a Partnership Agreement (“Convention de partenariat”). Community schools (“écoles villageoises”) also fall under the Partnership Agreement. School inspectors are in charge of assessing and monitoring operations of non-public schools, for example, to ensure that these schools abide by the school calendar and the teaching and learning program set by the government.
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The program funded by the US$31.6 million grant is evidence-based and addresses critical issues identified in the Education Sector Plan 2020-2029 and the sector analysis (2018). It intends to set a strong foundation at this early stage of ESP implementation during which the Ministry of Education (MoE) and school capacities are weak and resources are limited.
The program, named Education Sector Plan Support Project (ESPSP), aims to:
- Increase access to pre-primary, primary and lower-secondary education. With a focus on children living in educationally deprived prefectures, this component addresses mainly supply-side factors in line with the education sector’s post-crisis recovery efforts like:
- Increasing the physical capacity of school infrastructure at pre-primary and basic education levels,
- Supporting accelerated learning programs.
- Introducing Sango as the language of instruction in the early grades,
- Supporting remediation programs to promote acquisition of reading proficiency and mathematics,
- Increasing the capacity for teacher training and improving pre-service training,
- Improving the quality of in-service training and teaching practices in primary schools.
- Conducting human resources’ audit of the MoE,
- Setting up a human resource management information system,
- Using technologies (like smartphones, geo-localization of schools) to facilitate EMIS data collection and dissemination,
- Setting up a national learning outcomes assessment system and CAR’s participation in PASEC 2024,
- Strengthening critical systems for better management.
A few interventions such as those related to teacher training and system building will have a national coverage.
Given the post-conflict/fragile context and the weak public sector management capacity in the Central African Republic, the ESPSP will be implemented as a stand-alone project.
The project coordination unit (PCU), created to support the MoE in implementing the World Bank’s ongoing project, will be expanded to reinforce the implementation of ESPSP, particularly with regards to fiduciary tasks. The capacity of the PCU will be strengthened to manage both programs. A team of technical assistance within the PCU will work closely with MoE’s staff to help strengthen institutional capacity.
Although the program does not address needs emerging directly from the COVID-19 pandemic, it ensures coordination with COVID-19 related interventions while supporting the country’s capacity to respond to future emergencies.
All amounts are in US dollars.
|Grant type||Years||Allocations||Utilization||Grant agent|
|Accelerated funding||2018-2020||6,320,000||6,314,664||UNICEF||Completion report|
|Program implementation||2021-2025||31,600,000||2,030,719||WB||Progress report|
|Sector plan development||2019-2020||500,000||499,165||WB|