COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$0.75 million

Year: 2020-2022

Grant agent: UNICEF

Key documents:

The US$750,000 COVID-19 grant supports:

  • Developing paper-based distance learning materials for children living on remote islands
  • The social and emotional well-being of children, teachers and parents to improve the learning and teaching environment
  • Safe school operations including water and sanitation interventions (WASH) in schools and other essential support
  • Training teachers on the preparation and use of home-learning packets and radio-based instruction, as well as effective tutoring strategies for supplemental catch-up courses
  • Strengthening the education system by building infrastructure capacity of staff to more effectively communicate with remote and rural communities, and by improving the systematic reporting of relevant data.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in the Federated States of Micronesia received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education in planning its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The funds have been used to support community-based learning and the remote learning framework.

Education in the Federated States of Micronesia

The education system in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, non-formal education and other post-school components such as technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and other forms of vocational education. Students with special needs are included within the mainstream groupings.

Public education is free and attendance in grades 1–8 is compulsory for all students aged 6 to 14 years (including those with disabilities) or until the completion of grade 8. The government provides textbooks free of cost to all students. Secondary schooling (grades 9–12) is not compulsory.

A major issue for the education sector is the cultural and linguistic diversity across the four separate and semi-autonomous states that make up the country. Although English is the official language for FSM and is used as a medium of instruction in schools, it is the second language for around 98% of all students. There is no single unifying language structure across all 607 islands of FSM. Many local spoken languages also do not have well-established writing systems or significant amounts of printed texts.

The country’s Education sector strategic development plan 2020-2024 (ESSDP), prepared with GPE’s support, is aligned with the Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) and the Sustainable Development Goals (specifically Goal 4 for education). It recognizes the importance for the country to work cooperatively within the Pacific region and to maintain a global focus on higher quality learning outcomes.

To address the low learning outcomes, the ESSDP aims to improve the quality of learning particularly in reading and numeracy at all levels in safe, climate-resistant learning environments.

To achieve this, the ESSDP specifies 5 sub-goals:

  1. Provide high quality relevant programs for learners at all levels of education
  2. Improve the quality of teachers and teaching at all levels
  3. Maintain consistent performance monitoring and data-based decision-making systems
  4. Strengthen the participation of communities in the management of schools
  5. Ensure that education is relevant to the life and aspirations of the people of FSM.

Regional strategy: PacREF

In 2018, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Education Ministers, in which FSM participates, adopted the Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF) 2018-2030: Moving Towards Education 2030. PacREF outlines a transformative and sustainable regional education agenda aligned with global agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 4, and Education 2030: Incheon Declaration on Education for All Framework for Action.

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 informal, primary, secondary and tertiary education and training. It focuses particularly on education quality and the importance of working cooperatively in the region and beyond.

While Pacific countries integrate what they consider as the relevant parts of the PacREF Program into their national education policies, programs and practices, the Framework also provides a means for identifying and understanding similarities and differences across the region. It offers organizing mechanisms for sector planning, reporting and collaboration, and give development partners with an understanding of where the region’s resourcing priorities lie.

The PacREF has 4 key policy areas to maximize gains in student learning outcomes and well-being:

  1. Quality and relevance: Provide all learners with a safe and supportive environment, within which they are offered high quality learning opportunities that are meaningful, valuable, inclusive and future-focused.
  2. Learning pathway: Provide all learners equal access to multiple and seamless pathways and modalities of learning that will allow them to meet their full potential.
  3. Student outcomes and wellbeing: Make sure all learners acquire the knowledge, skills, values and attributes to enable them to contribute to their families, communities and to nation building.
  4. The teaching profession: Support and empower teachers through opportunities for continuous development, shared understanding and accountability.

PacREF is divided into three 4-year phases to facilitate in-depth program review by the education ministers.

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Latest grant

Child at a daycare center in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.

Children playing during an educational activity at a daycare center in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.

CREDIT: Eric Sales/Asian Development Bank
Development objective: Create a learning and developmental foundation for 5-year-old children, to lead to improved learning outcomes at primary and subsequent education levels
Allocation: US$2,500,000
Years: 2021-2024
Grant agent: UNICEF
Utilization: US$135,221

The US$2.5 million grant supports implementation of a national program, which aims to establish one year of compulsory preschool for 5-year-old children. 

The GPE grant supports the following development activities:

  1. Review and finalize the ECE policy and legislation framework and develop a national roadmap and costed action plans for achieving compulsory ECE for 5-year-old children at national and state levels.
  2. Improve equitable access to ECE through refurbishing 41 existing classrooms and equipping 18 ECE classes, developing a school feeding strategy in Chuuk and Kasrae, and constructing cooking spaces with cooking equipment in 46 schools.
  3. Improve quality and relevance of ECE through structured in-service teacher training programs for ECE in each state (193 ECE teachers in total), providing training of school management for implementing compulsory ECE (128 schools in total), developing and conducting a school readiness assessment, and developing and distributing effective teaching and learning materials.
  4. Improve efficiency and effectiveness of ECE through developing standardized procedures and guidelines for annual monitoring and developing and conducting policies and programs for parental and community engagement.

The grant is managed through the country’s financial management systems, the government's main revenue account, and its procurement systems. The National Department of Education and the four State Departments of Education are implementing the program with support from UNICEF. 


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent
COVID-19 2020-2022 750,000 71,002 UNICEF
Program implementation 2021-2024 2,500,000 135,221 UNICEF
Sector plan development 2018-2020 235,695 235,695 ADB
2017-2018 195,102 * 195,102 ADB
2016-2017 180,965 180,965 ADB
Program development 2020-2021 297,213 297,213 UNICEF
2020-2021 389,875 * 389,875 ADB
  Total 4,548,850 1,505,073  
Data last updated: March 17, 2023

** This is a regional grant for Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.

* The program development grant is a regional grant for Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga. The sector plan development grant covers the Pacific region.

Last updated November 30, 2021