Children walking to school in Addis ababa. The 8th-grade Ministry exam serves as the second cycle assessment of the students in Ethiopia's current education system.

Ethiopia Gets $15mln Support to Safely Reopening its Schools

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has received a US $14.85 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to boost its response to disruptions in education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Bank announced on Friday it will be the grant agent for Ethiopia which is now implementing the COVID-19 Education Response Project.

It aims to maintain student learning while schools are closed, support the safe reopening of schools, and strengthen the resilience of the education system, according to the World Bank.

Ethiopia plans to reopen schools this month after the COVID-19 pandemic and temporary school closures have left 26 million Ethiopian students out of school.

This is expected to have long-term impacts on their health, development, and future earning potential. Some fear many students from vulnerable households may have opted to permanently drop out of school, presenting an urgent need to support and encourage re-enrollment once schools reopen.

The COVID-19 Education Response Project plans to support the safe and effective reopening of schools by supply thousands of schools with sanitation and safety materials.

“This project will support the government’s effort to provide distance learning using digital and broadcasting platforms including radio and TV, as well as printed materials to help school children, particularly the vulnerable children and pastoralist girls from the poorest households, to continue to learn while schools are closed due to the pandemic,” said Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has achieved impressive gains in social and human development that are important to sustain.

To realize national aspirations for attaining lower-middle-income country status by 2025, enhanced human capital, and continuous commitment to education, are needed to drive economic development.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic shock present serious challenges to the educational system, but if Ethiopia moves quickly to support continued learning it can mitigate the damage and even turn recovery into new opportunities.

Alice Albright, GPE’s CEO., said Ethiopia has been a GPE partner since 2004 and has made great strides to make its education system better and accessible to more children.

“These commitments are paying off, but even brief interruptions in education can have devastating consequences on children’s learning and wellbeing,” Albright said. “These emergency funds from GPE will help Ethiopia ensure that its hard-won gains are preserved and that no child’s education is left behind because of COVID-19.”

The Project will be implemented over the next 18 months and will complement and leverage other ongoing education projects supported by the World Bank.

Featured Image: Children walking to school in Addis Ababa [Photo File]