Cover Note for COVID-19 Accelerated Funding Request

Cover Note for COVID-19 Accelerated Funding Request
Cover Note for
                  COVID-19 Accelerated Funding Request
       Country:                                                                          Papua New Guinea

       Grant agent(s):                                                                   United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
                                                                                         Australia High Commission Port Moresby
       Coordinating agency(ies):
                                                                                         (COVID-19 Accelerated Funds) and UNICEF
                                                                                        Papua New Guinea COVID-19 Emergency
       Program name:
                                                                                        Education Response and Recovery Program

       COVID-19 Accelerated Funding amount requested:                                    USD 9,997,120

       Agency fees amount (additional to COVID-19 Accelerated
       Funding amount requested):1
       Agency fees as % of total COVID-19 Accelerated Funding
       COVID-19 Accelerated Funding application date:                                    5/5/2020

       Estimated COVID-19 Accelerated Funding program start date:                        6/1/2020
       Estimated COVID-19 Accelerated Funding program closing
       date (must be last day of the month, e.g. June 30, 2021):
       Expected submission date of completion report
       (At the latest 6 months after program closing date):
                                                                                                  Sector Pooled
      Grant modality - (please enter ‘X’)                                                         Project Pooled/ Co-financed
                                                                                          X       Project/ Stand-alone

  General agency fees are additional to the Accelerated Funding amount requested, and determined by the grant agent’s own internal
regulations. They are paid to the agency’s headquarters and relate to overhead costs and are typically used to assist in the defrayment of
administrative and other costs incurred in connection with the management and administration of grant funds. These fees are pre-determined
in the Financial Procedure Agreement (FPA) between the grant agent and the GPE Trustee.
Cover Note for COVID-19 Accelerated Funding Request
Note to the user

Informing the Secretariat:

➔ Prior to submitting a COVID-19 Accelerated Funding application, the Government
or the Coordinating Agency informs the Secretariat of the country’s intention to apply
and provides a timeline for the submission of their application to the GPE Secretariat.

COVID-19 Accelerated Funding Guidelines:

➔ Applicants should read the GPE Guidelines for COVID-19 Accelerated Funding
Window, which explain the application development process, including timeline, and
necessary steps. In case additional information is needed, the applicant can contact
the Country Lead at the Secretariat.
Cover Note for COVID-19 Accelerated Funding Request
Application to Global Partnership for Education COVID-
   19 Accelerated Funding Window for Emergency
            Response in Papua New Guinea

Cover Note for COVID-19 Accelerated Funding Request
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared by WHO as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. There
are currently no licensed treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, although experimental treatments as well
as vaccines are under development. The epidemiology of COVID-19 is dynamically evolving with
confirmation of the disease in different countries. The most up to date information on COVID-19 may be
accessed here
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted learning for 1.5 billion children representing over 89% of the
world’s student population including all 2.4 million students in PNG. The gains in expanding access to
education and improving the quality of education are being severely compromised. The loss of protection
and other forms of support that schools provide including school-based health and child protection are
also impacting children’s well-being. Vulnerable children, including girls, children with a disability, poor
and other marginalized groups, including those living in remote hard to reach areas are the most affected.

As of the 5th of May 2020, 8 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed across three provinces in PNG, with
contact tracing under way. PNG has a weak health system, which is not prepared for a pandemic and faces
shortages of medical staff and supplies to respond effectively. Health system challenges are more acute in
the provinces and hard-to-reach areas because of difficult terrain and high-risk environments.2 A COVID-
19 hotline has been established and receives an average of 2,000 calls per day from across the country.
Pre-triage stations and isolation wards are being established, but limited testing capacity, access to PPE
and essential medical equipment remains a significant concern.

PNG Education response
The National Department of Education (NDoE) is the Education Cluster (EC) lead in Papua New Guinea
(PNG) and, in close collaboration with EC co-leads UNICEF PNG and Save the Children, the NDoE is urgently
scaling up its approach to support the continuation of learning to mitigate the impacts of school closures
on the learning outcomes, health, wellbeing and development of school age population. The NDoE also aims
to ensure that schools prepare for student returns with plans for student accelerated learning programs,
using this as an opportunity to re-engage with previously out-of-school children, and providing safe and
healthy learning environments.

In Papua New Guinea, schools and other education settings were temporarily closed as part of the COVID-
19 response and State of Emergency. School closures commenced on 6 April 2020, and Term 1 school
holidays were brought forward. Teachers were asked to return to school on the 27th of April and students
are requested to return on the 4th of May, however attendance is not compulsory, and despite the
Government Tuition Fee Subsidy (GTFS) released in April 2020, many schools lack the resources to
implement the guidance from NDoE on infection prevention and control (e.g. wearing of face masks and
regular handwashing with soap). The NDoE will therefore continue to provide remote learning support
through lessons broadcast on television, radio and online throughout 2020. Additionally, the nature of the

    National Department of Health (2020) Papua New Guinea Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) as of 2
                                                               March 2020

Cover Note for COVID-19 Accelerated Funding Request
response to COVID-19 is fluid, so if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in one or more locations in PNG,
schools may need to close again. Schools report that many parents and students remain fearful about a
return to school due to lack of accurate information available on COVID-19 3 and based on previous
experience, many students may remain out of school well beyond the reopening of schools in May.

With the financial support of USD 70,000 received by UNICEF from the Global Partnership for Education
(GPE) at the onset of the COVID-19 emergency, the NDoE was able to complete an education rapid needs
assessment, activate NDoE websites with educational content for teachers and students4, and initiate radio
and television programs broadcasting English, Mathematics and Science lessons for students since 14 April
2020. In addition, the NDoE used their Government of Papua New Guinea budget to release school grants
under the GTFS to all schools in PNG to commence delivery of print-based remote learning and enhance
water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) facilities in schools.

Education Emergency Response and Recovery Plan
The NDoE, supported by Local Education Group (LEG) and EC members, has developed, endorsed and
published a national Education Emergency Response and Recovery Plan (EERRP) at

This plan has been developed by the government in close consultation with LEG and EC members to
respond to COVID-19. As a result of the current pandemic, under the leadership of the NDoE the Education
Cluster, consisting of 17 members, is currently meeting weekly5. The set of interventions documented in
the PNG EERRP and presented in this proposal were developed and agreed upon by EC members to ensure
the continuation of teaching and learning in the short term. Under the leadership of the NDoE, several EC
members have contributed in-kind technical support towards the development of these documents.

In April 2020, the NDoE led a rapid needs assessment with technical support from Save the Children and
other EC members. As mentioned above, this was made possible through the financial support provided by
GPE at the onset of this emergency. The needs assessment was used to inform the medium and long term
strategy to ensure all Early Childhood Education (ECE), elementary, primary, lower secondary as well as
Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Flexible Open and Distance Education (FODE)
students have access to quality education during the pandemic and return to classes when schools reopen.

The goal of NDoE COVID-19 EERRP is to sustain learning and inclusion during and after the COVID-19
pandemic. This will be achieved if a) all students can continue remote learning safely, b) all students and
teachers can return safely to school, c) all students remain safe and are able to learn, and d) the education
system becomes more resilient to future disruptions. The EERRP is structured around these four phases of
response. It is acknowledged that, given the fluid nature of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, these
phases may not occur in a linear pattern.

                                        PNG COVID-19 Education Rapid Assessment (April 2020)

4 and
                                        For a full list of Education Cluster Members, see Annex 1

The Government informed the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) of their intention to apply for
accelerated emergency financing to support aspects of the national response plan under the COVID-19
Accelerated Funding Window on 14 April 2020 through a letter from the Secretary of Education. The NDoE
as EC Chair and EC members nominated UNICEF as the grant agent (GA) for the application at the EC
meeting on 15 April 6 and this was endorsed by the LEG via mail poll on 24 April 2020. Secretary for
Education, Dr. Uke Kombra requested in writing for UNICEF to be the GA for the GPE COVID-19 Accelerated
Funding Window on 27 April 2020, and this was accepted by UNICEF in writing on 28 April 2020. 7

Education sector background
Rapid Assessment Results
A rapid assessment of the COVID-19 situation in the National Education System (NES) was conducted
between 22 April and 1 May 2020 by inspectors and guidance officers using telephone interviews with the
headteachers of 404 schools and education institutions (2 percent of NES). Telephone interviews were
conducted in 13 provinces (59 percent) and 35 districts (40 percent of all districts). A sample of 52 ECE
centres was also interviewed by church education partners and NGOs. Schools in the sample represented
a total population of 127,504 students, including 70 boarding institutions.
The results of the rapid assessment are taken to be indicative of the overall situation in Papua New Guinea,
although the sample of telephone interviews is not statistically representative due to logistical challenges,
particularly contacting remote schools.
The rapid assessment found that the majority of schools face significant barriers to delivering remote
learning, including very limited access for students to basic learning materials that they can use at home,
as well technology such as radio, basic and smart phone, television or internet. 72% of schools reported
that less than half of their students have access to electricity at home. Schools also have limited access to
these resources which will present a challenge to delivering quality education, including booster learning
programs, for students on return to school.
The rapid assessment found that many schools are seeing additional challenges for students as a result of
school closures and the COVID-19 response. Lack of access to accurate information about COVID-19 (82%),
safety and protection issues (81%), lack of supervision at home (78%), and limited access to WaSH
facilities (75%) were the most commonly reported challenges. These reported challenges highlight the
need for the education response to address issues of risk communication and community engagement
(RCCE), protection and WaSH, among others.

The PNG education system has grown dramatically in the last 40 years. There are 66,789 teachers,
2,328,062 students in 9,400 elementary schools, 4,056 primary schools, 299 secondary and high schools,
148 vocational schools, 22 Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) Centers, 22 Inclusive Education
Resource Centres (IERC) and 6,548 student teachers at 19 teachers’ colleges. More than 45% of the schools
in PNG are managed by Churches8 and Church schools are considered to be part of the education system
under the 1983 Education Act of PNG. The Government of PNG employs the teachers in Church schools and

                                     For the signed meeting notes, please refer to Annex 4

                                           For the signed letters, please refer to Annex 3

                                                  PNG Statistic Digest Overview (2018)

they also receive Government Tuition Fee Subsidies to support the management and operations of these
schools. There is also a rapidly growing early childhood education (ECE) sector provided by churches,
private operators and communities.9 However, access to education remains a real challenge in PNG with
25% (Girls: 27%) of children aged 6 to 18 years out of school 10 and only a third of school-aged children
are enrolled in secondary schools.11

One of the largest challenges for PNG’s education system is its rugged geography. PNG has over 600 small
islands, 27% of which are inhabited and 80% of its land mass is covered by forests. Road infrastructure is very
limited and often in poor condition making transport and communications expensive. About 87% of the
population live in rural areas and some remote villages are only accessible by helicopter or light aircraft.12


In PNG, chronic disparities between girls and boys in access to education and completion persist and widen
as children progress through their schooling. Although enrolment rates are high in Elementary Prep (EP),
and the rate of girls’ enrolment has grown faster than boys over the past two decades, attendance and
completion patterns reveal the obstinacy of this issue. For girls and boys, the most significant loss in
transition from one year to the next occurs from Grade 8 to 9 (primary to lower secondary), where only
63.1% of boys and 55.1% of girls transition.13 Loss in retention however starts very early and by Grade 3,
only 84% of boys and 81% of girls transition from Elementary 2 to primary school (Grade 3), with
significant variation across provinces and districts. The COVID-19 pandemic puts pressure on this already
very vulnerable period in children’s education. As the economic crisis deepens in the country, pressure on
boys to contribute to the family income may also increase, leading to permanent school dropout.14

PNG is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman, with the majority of women
experiencing rape or assault in their lifetime and women facing systemic discrimination.15 School closures,
and staggered or limited return to school due to the reasons detailed above, mean that girls are likely to be
spending more time out of school, with no supervision during the day, which can lead to increased risk of
sexual abuse and exploitation and gender-based violence (GBV). Experience also shows that following

     ECE has been included in the National Education Plan 2020-29, and an ECE policy is being drafted to bring existing ECE centres under the
oversight of the NDoE. Many ECE teachers are volunteers or operate under a stipend provided by communities and churches. The total ECE
                                                                enrollment is not currently known.

                                                          Out-of-school Children Report (2018) Unpublished

                    World Bank (2016). Accessed on 1 May 2020 at

                          National Economic and Fiscal Commission (2013) Go Long Ples: Reducing inequality in education funding

                                                           Department of Education (2015) EMIS data 2015.

     De Paz, C; Muller M; Munoz Boudet, A; and Gaddis, I. (2020) Gender dimensions of the COVID-19 response. Policy Note April 16. The World
                                                                           Bank Group

                                     Human Rights Watch (2017) Papua New Guinea – Events of 2016 Women and girl’s rights

prolonged school closures, girls are less likely than boys to return. 16 Girls’ safety at the home, in the
community and at school is a priority for the education response to COVID-19.

Disability Inclusion
In PNG, children with disabilities are significantly underrepresented in schools. In the rapid assessment
conducted in April 2020, schools reported on average less than 1% of their students had a disability.17 Key
barriers to education are: lack of awareness of the rights of children with disabilities; insufficient budget
allocation to implement the Special Education policy; lack of competent teachers with disability-inclusive
education training; difficulties with retention and transition in various educational settings from early
childhood to post-secondary; inaccessible infrastructure and materials in educational settings; limited
appropriate disability services e.g. health, rehabilitation and early intervention services, and lack of
inclusive education curriculum and assessment practices18. The services that do exist to support children
with disability operate through 19 IERCs, where capacity for outreach and direct services to schools is very

In the COVID-19 response, children with disabilities face additional barriers to maintaining continuity of
learning. They may require learning materials to be adapted so that they are accessible, particularly when
learning from home. Many children with disabilities also require targeted teaching and learning support,
which is often not available at home. Limited access to WaSH facilities in schools compounds barriers to
education for children with disabilities, and this is exacerbated during periods of disease outbreak.

As referenced above, PNG has a unique geography which makes education service delivery very difficult.
The mountainous regions are extremely difficult to access and the country also has over 150 populated
islands. This presents a real barrier to equity of access to and quality of education. Schools in very remote
and extremely remote locations can pay between 33% and 56% more to purchase a similar basket of goods
for school needs. Student-teacher ratios are higher in more remote schools, and literacy rates tend to be
lower in adults and children in more remote villages.19 This presents a real equity challenge for the NES,
an issue which is likely to be exacerbated as a result of COVID-19, as more remote villages tend to have less
access to communication technology and resources which would facilitate access to up to date information
as well as remote learning programs.

The remoteness of schools and education institutions presents particular challenges in the COVID-19
response. Many very remote and extremely remote communities have limited access to information
disseminated from Port Moresby. For example, there is anecdotal evidence that a number of schools in
extremely remote communities continued to operate in April 2020. Despite the direction from the NDoE,
these schools reported that they did not receive information that they were supposed to close. Ensuring
that these extremely remote communities have access to the same information on COVID-19 is critical to

                        Inter-Agency Standing Committee (2020), Interim Guidance: Gender Alert for COVID-19 Outbreak

                                             PNG COVID-19 Education Rapid Assessment (April 2020)

                  CBM (2018) Final Report: PNG Inclusive Education Analysis. Australian High Commission, Port Moresby

                 National Economic and Fiscal Commission (2013) Go Long Ples: Reducing inequality in education funding

prevent and control local outbreaks. Without this information, students and teachers will be able to
effectively apply health and hygiene measures, identify the illness and seek medical attention or report this
to the health authorities as needed. Churches are strongly represented in the very and extremely remote
areas of PNG and through their networks these institutes present a strategic method for disseminating
information, particularly to children and parents. According to the 2018 PNG statistical digest, more than
45% of schools are run by churches, making them a key partner in COVID-19 prevention and control in
schools. Targeted approaches using the NDoE school inspection as well as guidance and counselling
systems are also required to ensure that every school receives and applies COVID-19 information

Learning outcomes
Quality of education remains a challenge in PNG, with high numbers of students not achieving expected
literacy and numeracy proficiency. The 2018 Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA)
found that only 38% of Grade 3 and 52% of Grade 5 students in PNG achieved the minimum expected
proficiency level for literacy.

Furthermore, many schools and students do not have access to basic teaching and learning materials. According
to the rapid assessment conducted in April 2020, a third of responding schools advised that their students had
no access to textbooks, while 69% of schools reported that their teachers do not have copies of all the required
teachers’ guides.20 When it comes to access to technology, the rapid assessment found that access to radio was
most common, but only 25% of schools reported that most of their students had access to radio. This presents a
significant access issue for education delivery, an issue exacerbated by the current crisis as many students are
unable to access technology which would facilitate remote learning, and access to timely and accurate

Parents play an important role in supporting continuation of learning, including through encouraging
children to engage in remote learning activities at home, facilitating a daily learning schedule, ensuring
children have a nutritious diet, and creating a conducive home learning environment. However, in Papua
New Guinea, adult literacy is approximately 62%, with a literacy among men being approximately 7
percentage points higher than women.21 Only 34% of schools report that all their students have access to
basic learning materials at home.22 Additionally, many parents have work and other obligations, making it
difficult for them to provide necessary care and learning support. In order to effectively support children’s
learning at home throughout this crisis, parents need to receive timely information, guidance and tools to
facilitate this.

PNG is home to over 850 distinct languages, making it the most linguistically diverse country in the world.
In terms of common languages, many people speak Tok Pisin, and the language of instruction is English.
The implications of this linguistic diversity for the education system are numerous, one of which being low
levels of literacy in English among children and adults.

                                        PNG COVID-19 Education Rapid Assessment (April 2020)

                               UNESCO (2019) Papua New Guinea:

                                        PNG COVID-19 Education Rapid Assessment (April 2020)

COVID-19 response therefore needs to be child-friendly and accessible for people with low literacy levels.
In addition, home-based as well as booster learning programs need to take this into account to ensure
students learn effectively.

COVID-19 Education Program Description
Alignment with Education Emergency Response Plan
The activities and outcomes of this program are drawn directly from the national EERRP, contributing
specifically to the basic and second chance education components of the EERRP. Relevant activities from
all four phases of the EERRP make up this program, with a particular focus on phases 2, 3 and 4 – return to
school, learning in school and building resilience in the education system.
The EERRP focuses on the most vulnerable children (e.g., girls, children with disabilities, children from the
bottom wealth quintile and those living in remote communities) who are at risk of being left behind in
learning, dropping out of school, or will be exposed to greater risks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This approach aligns to the ‘readiness’ agenda promoted by UNICEF and other development partners:
     ▪ Every 5-year-old is ready for school (more 5-year olds developmentally on track and are able to
        identify or name 10 letters of the alphabet and recognize numbers from 1 to 10)
     ▪ Every 10-year-old is able to succeed at school (more 10-year olds are able to read a simple
        paragraph and do basic maths)
     ▪ Every 18-year-old is ready to transition to work and life (more 18-year olds have
        literacy/numeracy, digital, transferable and job specific skills).

Program Objectives
The COVID-19 pandemic has significant implications for the PNG education system, including disruption
to school attendance and learning of students. To mitigate the impact of COVID-19, this proposal outlines
interventions to prevent and control COVID-19 in schools as well as creating safe and healthy learning
environments conducive to teaching and learning.
The goal of this program, aligned with the EERRP, is to sustain learning and inclusion during and after the
COVID-19 pandemic.
To achieve this goal, the program is designed in four phases, with the following outcomes:
    1. All students can continue remote learning safely
    2. All students and teachers can return safely to school
    3. All students are safe and learning
    4. The education system is more resilient to future disruptions
Results Framework
The results framework for this application feeds directly into the EERRP Results Framework. Please see
Annex 2 for a full results framework.

Key Intervention Areas

A brief Theory of Change is outlined in the table above explaining how intermediate outcomes result
contributes to phase level outcomes contributing to achieve the EERRP Goal. These Outcomes,
Intermediate Outcomes and Key Interventions are described in detail below.
The education system in PNG is in the transition to a new 1-6-6 structure, which includes one year of pre-
primary education and then six years each of primary and secondary education. The transition to 1-6-6
commenced in 2020, but as this process includes significant infrastructure and teacher training upgrade,
most schools are still operating in a manner which reflects the old structure. This includes 3 years of
elementary school (grades 1-3), 5 years of primary school (grades 4-8) and 4 years of secondary school
(grades 9-12). For the purposes of this application, this is the structure referred to throughout.
Additionally, ECE is largely provided in community-based settings, delivered by NGOs and churches. It will
be a key priority sector for advancement in the next National Education Plan (2020-2029). PNG has two
mechanisms designed to facilitate second-chance education for students who have dropped out of school.
These are FODE and Vocational Education and Training (VET). FODE is designed to help students who have
dropped out of school or were unable to access secondary school to attain Grade 8, 10 and 12 equivalency
education. Grade 8 is considered lower secondary, so the funds under this proposal will be used for out-of-
school children to support them in obtaining a Grade 8 certificate. This enables students to receive a
qualification that can facilitate their return to formal education. VET provides vocational and technical
training and is available for children and young people who have dropped out of school. Under this grant,
out of school youth of lower secondary school age, will be targeted.

This application incorporates interventions designed to reach students in ECE, elementary, primary and
second chance (FODE and VET) education.
Outcome 1: All students can continue remote learning safely
Even though schools have opened on 4 May 2020, not all students will be able to go to school every day
because of the NDoE guidelines on social distancing to protect students and teachers against COVID-19.
These guidelines do not allow more than 30 students in one classroom and all students and teachers must
wear facemasks. In addition, school attendance will not be compulsory, so it is expected that parents will
keep their children at home. Therefore, the NDoE and partners will implement activities to maintain
continuity of learning for students at all levels of education until the end of the 2020 academic year.
Dissemination of timely, accurate risk communication will be essential for parents, students and teachers
to ensure that they can implement appropriate health and hygiene measures during this period of
disruption in students’ learning.

A range of strategies will be used in order to reach students across PNG, including in very remote and
extremely remote schools. These will include development of key messages and learning packages for
distribution in print, online, through TV, radio and SMS as appropriate. As identified in the rapid
assessment, due focus is required on print and radio materials in order to reach the majority of students.
Adaptations will be made to ensure remote learning packages are accessible for children with a disability
and out-of-school children. Teachers will receive remote and school-based training and support in
implementing these strategies so that they can deliver and supplement remote learning strategies,
providing the necessary support for their students. It is anticipated that broadcasting of lessons through
these media will continue throughout the 2020 school year to ensure that students are able to continue to
access lessons throughout. This will also support continuation of learning where students experience
delays in returning to school or disruptions with periodic reclosures.

During periods of school closures, the following intermediate outcomes will be prioritized:

   1.1 Teachers, parents and students understand the importance of social distancing and hygiene
       practices, their role in supporting home learning and in protecting children

        Throughout the period of school closures, dissemination of timely, accurate risk communication
        will be essential for parents, students and teachers to ensure that they can implement appropriate
        health and hygiene measures during the period of remote learning. Rumours and misinformation
        are already being shared within the community in PNG, with the potential to lead to increased
        social unrest. Additionally, the COVID-19 response is leading to increased pressure on families
        across a number of economic, social and health factors. Provision of psychosocial support to
        students, parents and teachers will be critical to supporting the wellbeing and safety of the school

Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
       - Key health, hygiene and psychosocial support messages are developed and endorsed by
            National Department of Health and Communications Cluster, in collaboration with the
            Education Cluster (EC)
       - Dissemination of key messages incl. inspector communications to teachers, parents &
            students through print, radio, television, SMS and online
       - Development and dissemination of positive parenting pack to support parents to employ
            positive discipline in the home

1.2 Early childhood, elementary, primary, vocational and FODE students access remote learning
    package through print, digital technology, radio & TV

    As mentioned above, students are not required to return to school and, due to a range of factors,
    including fear, stigma and misinformation relating to COVID-19, it is anticipated that many
    students will remain out of school for some time, or that further school closures may be required
    over the course of 2020. As such, the NDoE will continue to develop materials to facilitate remote
    learning and broadcast or distribute these as needed.

    Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
       - Development and dissemination of home learning packs and print-based education
            resources for ECE, elementary and primary students, focusing on English and Mathematics
       - Development and dissemination of print-based home learning packs for FODE students
       - Development and distribution of teacher training and resource packs for facilitating remote
            learning for ECE, elementary and primary teachers
       - Development and distribution of parenting pack of information for parents to support
            home-based learning
       - Development and broadcasting of television, radio, SMS and online learning materials,
                o Story time for ECE and elementary students
                o 1 term of lessons for elementary and primary students (Grades 1-8)

1.3 Disadvantaged and marginalised children (who live in remote areas including those out of school
    and/or with a disability) access suitably adapted learning packages that meet their needs

    As identified in the rapid assessment, in order to reach all students, particularly those in remote
    areas, or those in the lowest wealth quintile, print-based learning packs are required, as the
    majority of disadvantaged and marginalised children do not have access to technologies which
    could otherwise facilitate remote learning. In the case of children with disabilities or children with
    low literacy, adapted learning materials will be developed and teachers will be provided with
    guidance on how best to support these students’ learning remotely. It is anticipated that the
    development of the range of remote learning materials will additionally provide a new mechanism

for out of school children to re-engage with the education system, including informally accessing
        these lessons.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
           - Teacher training & support packs developed and disseminated for Inclusive Education
                Resource Centres (IERC) to deliver remote learning for children with disabilities
           - Home learning pack and parenting pack adapted for children with disabilities and
           - PPE for IERC Officers to be able to conduct home visits and IERC-based activities requiring
                physical contact.

   1.4 Teachers are equipped with knowledge, skills and resources to support remote learning in their

        Teachers are vital to the implementation of education response to COVID-19 across all four phases.
        They will play an important role in distributing learning materials, checking on and supporting
        students and their families with the new learning environment and supporting the delivery of new
        forms of remote learning.

        Throughout each phase, teachers play a role in provision of psychosocial support to students and
        will receive training and resources to support this, alongside school-based counsellors who are
        present in some primary and secondary schools across the country.

        Teacher wellbeing and support is a necessary component of this response plan. Support to
        teachers will draw on existing resources and mechanisms, which may need to be adapted or
        supplemented as appropriate.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
             - provision of training relevant to teachers’ role in delivering remote learning, as well as
                 training in conducting psychosocial wellbeing assessments and providing psychosocial
                 support to students – for ECE, elementary and primary teachers
             - distribution of teaching and learning materials to support remote learning – for ECE,
                 elementary and primary teachers

Outcome 2: All students and teachers can return safely to school
Lessons learned from the 2018 earthquake in the Highlands indicate that when schools close due to an
emergency response, there can be a long lag time to get children back into school once they re-open.
Following the earthquake, many students did not return until the following school year, meaning they
missed almost an entire academic year. This was due to a range of factors, including fear and
misinformation, lack of teaching & learning resources, high teacher attrition and increased social unrest.
Strategies used which successfully facilitated return to school for students included: provision of
temporary learning spaces, distribution of recreational kits (balls, games), Early Childhood and
Development Kits (board games, puzzles), School in a box (classroom/student stationaries), teachers bags
and students backpacks were popular in motivating both teachers and students to return to school.
Applying lessons learned from the earthquake, a strong focus on opening up better is required as part of

the education response to COVID-19 to ensure that children return to safe, healthy and child-friendly
learning environments as quickly as possible.

In April 2020, USD 14.9 Million was released to schools as part of the Government Tuition Fee Subsidy to
support schools to respond to COVID-19 effectively. The NDoE encourages schools to use these funds to
create safe and healthy learning environments.

Provision of timely, accurate information to teachers, parents and children will be required to promote
return to school. This information will include accurate information on COVID-19 prevention and control
health risks and mitigation measures. Additionally, schools will be supported to implement safety and
hygiene measures to promote student and teacher health. This may include delivery of health and hygiene
messages and improvement of WaSH facilities. Teachers will be provided targeted support and incentives
to facilitate timely reopening of schools and ensure they have the tools and resources they need for this.

In order to ensure that regular schooling can resume as quickly as possible following schools’ reopening,
the following intermediate outcomes will be prioritized:

   2.1 Parents and caregivers are confident to send their children to school

        In order to support return to school, parents and caregivers need to receive timely and accurate
        information on a range of key topics, including up to date information about: COVID-19 in PNG;
        return to school timing and protocols and safety and health measures put in place in schools;
        psychosocial support for themselves and their children.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
          - National back to school campaign, including development and dissemination of key back to
              school messages for campaign adapted from national messages. Messages will be disseminated
              through TV, radio, newspaper, SMS and online

   2.2 Students are confident to return to school

        Similar to parents, students also need to receive timely, accurate and age-appropriate information
        in order to facilitate their return to school, including allaying any fears they may have about
        COVID-19. Many students also require basic learning materials in order to be able to fully
        participate in learning, and access to these materials will help facilitate return to school. Some
        students, for example children with a disability, or disadvantaged students may require targeted
        support and provision of specific or adapted resources to ensure that they are not excluded from
        the return to school process.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
           - Dissemination of back to school incentive packs for provinces/districts most affected by COVID-
                19 (including stationary, learning materials etc)

   2.3 Education officers, headteachers, education agencies, and school boards apply safe school
       operational guidelines to reopen schools safely

Clear guidance and access to up to date information will be required by education officers,
    headteachers, school boards and education agencies to ensure that schools implement the
    necessary health, safety, protection and learning protocols to keep students safe and learning
    amidst the COVID-19 response and beyond. Ensuring that the guidance developed by NDoE is
    distributed to all schools and easy to understand and operationalise will be essential to facilitate
    safe reopening of schools.

    Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
      - Contextualise and distribute global guidance and key health and hygiene messages for
          COVID-19 prevention and control in schools
      - Extract and simplify information from the “New Normal Guidelines for Schools and
          Education Institutions
      - Distribute simplified guidance from “New Normal Guidelines” and provide training for PDoE,
          CEAs, guidance officers and inspectors
      - Develop and deliver orientation and training on ‘New Normal’ and ‘Safe School’ guidelines
          for PDoE, CEA, guidance officers & inspectors
      - Inspectors and guidance officers conduct monitoring visits to schools to monitor
          implementation of the “New Normal Guidelines” and provide support and guidance on their
      - Back to Work Health Incentive Pack procured and distributed for PDoE, CEA, inspectors and
          guidance officers (i.e. soap)

2.4 Teachers are supported with adequate hygiene equipment and appropriate information to return
    to school

    Teachers also play critical role in the return to school phase, supporting back to school efforts and
    implementing safety measures in schools. In supporting the back to school campaign, teachers play
    a key role in communicating on this with students and families, particularly reaching out to
    vulnerable students who may experience barriers to returning to school and supporting them to
    address those barriers.

    Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
    - Back to Work Health Incentive Pack procured and distributed for Teachers (i.e. soap)
    - Distribution of simplified guidance from the “New Normal Guidelines” and provision of support
        and guidance on their implementation for teachers

2.5 Schools meet WaSH standards and safety requirements

    In the rapid assessment, just over 31% of schools reported not having access to clean water, and
    89% of schools reported not having sufficient soap and water for all students to be able to practice
    handwashing behaviours. This presents a serious barrier to schools being able to apply infection
    prevention and control measures, as outlined in the “New Normal Guidelines”, and is likely to lead
    to schools being unable to provide a safe and clean environment for students to return to. Targeted

support will be provided to schools to improve access to necessary WaSH facilities so that they are
        able to meet WaSH standards when students return.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
        - Conduct WaSH in schools rapid audit
        - Handwashing station and toilet construction installation in accordance with the national
            WaSH minimum standards and School minimum standards based on PARI Index –
                o Requirements disseminated
                o Enforcing WaSH policy for schools to utilise grants
                o Support hardware procurement and distribution where required
        - ToT and dissemination of training manual for WaSH in schools management

   2.6 Schools support the basic needs of students as they return to school

        As mentioned above, distribution of learning materials, to teachers and students, was a necessary
        component of the return to school following the 2018 earthquake. This facilitated return to school
        as teachers and their students had access to the basic materials teachers required to teach and
        students to participate fully in their education, also incentivising their return to classes. As the
        rapid assessment found, a large proportion of students do not have access to textbooks or other
        basic learning materials, demonstrating a real need for provision of education supplies.
        Additionally, other supplementary supplies such as hygiene and sanitation kits will also be
        required for many students.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
        - Back to School incentive packs procured and distributed to students and teachers in most
            affected schools for ECE, elementary, primary and IERCs
        - Back to Learning incentive packs procured and distributed to students and teachers in most
            affected second chance education institutions (FODE and Vocational Technical Colleges)

Outcome 3: All students are safe and learning
Upon return to school, many students will still face barriers to successful continuation of their learning.
Despite support to remote learning during school closures, the COVID-19 response has disrupted learning
to varying degrees at all levels of the education system and booster classes will be needed. A student
assessment tool will be developed to enable teachers to understand the learning gaps and needs that
students have for targeting through booster classes. Teachers will be provided guidance on delivering
booster classes appropriate to school level.

Student and teacher safety and wellbeing will also be targeted in order to ensure that learning is able to
successfully resume classes. Schools are environments which play an important role in the safety and
wellbeing of students. This includes provision of mental health and psychosocial support to students and
their families and as a forum to address issues relating to GBV and protection. Their closure, and the fact
that many students and their families are facing additional challenges, stresses and fears, including those
related to COVID-19, highlight the need to focus on psychosocial support (PSS), and safety as part of the
education response.

Psychosocial support will be provided through schools in order to promote wellbeing and support
recovery of students and teachers. Additionally, targeted sensitization activities will take place focusing on
issues related to GBV and protection which are expected to be exacerbated by school closures.

Regular annual activities, such as distribution of teaching and learning materials (TLM), conducting school
census and national assessments will experience some level of disruption as a result of school closures and
restrictions on movement as part of the COVID-19 response. Through this phase, NDoE will ensure that
disruption to these essential activities is minimised.

In order to ensure children are safe and able to continue learning once they have returned to school, the
following intermediate objectives will be prioritised:

   3.1 Students and teachers receive timely PSS from Guidance Officers and School Inspectors to manage
       stress, anxiety, gender-based violence and gender inequality
        Lessons from other emergencies highlight risk of increasing gender-based violence. The economic
        impacts of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa placed women and girls at greater risk of
        exploitation and sexual violence.23 Given PNG’s already high rates of violence against women and
        girls, strategies are required to address this issue, and schools place a key role in this.

        As a result of COVID-19, many students and teachers will be experiencing increased stress and
        anxiety and require support to effectively manage this. Guidance Officers and School Inspectors
        are well placed to provide PSS to teachers and support teachers to similarly provide PSS to
        students to ensure a safe learning environment for all.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
        - Student well-being assessment tool developed/revised
        - Psychosocial Support (PSS) guidelines for teachers and students developed/revised and
        - Training program on PSS developed/revised and delivered for guidance officers, volunteer
            school counsellors, and teachers, including adapted program for IERCs
        - Messaging on health, hygiene, protection and GBV developed, endorsed, and disseminated
        - Inspectors and Guidance Officers conduct monitoring visits to check messaging has reached
            schools & sensitisation events are held and provide additional supports to schools on PSS, GBV
            and gender inequality and booster learning programs, as needed
        - Sensitization program on health, hygiene, protection and GBV for schools developed, endorsed
            and disseminated
        - Teacher guidance on sensitisation developed and disseminated
        - Back to Work Health Incentive Pack procured and distributed for inspectors and guidance
            officers (i.e. soap)

   3.2 Students access booster classes to recover lost instructional hours

                                      UNICEF: Five Actions for Gender Equality in COVID-19

Disruption to education due to school closures will have had an impact on students’ progress in
    their learning. Additionally, as the results of the 2018 PILNA show, many students are already
    behind on key competencies, such as literacy and numeracy. Upon return to school, efforts will be
    required to address any gaps and catch students up in line with the curriculum. Teachers will be
    supported to conduct student assessment in order to identify gaps in learning, and to deliver
    booster learning programs which respond to the results of the assessment and bring students up
    to date with the curriculum. The core subjects of Language, Mathematics and Science will be
    prioritised in the first instance.

    Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
    - Student academic assessment tool developed/revised and rolled out
    - Guidance for teachers on booster classes developed and disseminated using online and print
    - Booster classes developed per school level & grade including additional support for grades
        sitting examination (grade 8)
    - Vocational Education Training courses developed and uploaded online/ through innovative
    - Free online materials aligned with PNG Syllabus uploaded and distributed
    - Installation and configuration for Wifi connectivity in targeted schools

3.3 Continuation of annual TLM distribution (print and digital), annual school census and national
    assessments proceed

    Minimising disruption to regular activities, including distribution of teaching and learning
    materials, conducting the annual school census and ensuring national assessments proceed as
    planned will play an important role in supporting the resilience of the education system, and
    minimising impacts in this academic year and into the next. Proceeding with these activities
    ensures teachers have the resources they need, provides district and provincial authorities.

    In 2018, with the financial support from UNICEF, the capacity of Inspectors has been developed to
    collect school census data using an Android device as part of the National Quality School Standards
    Framework. This data will feed into the PNG Annual Education Statics Bulletin. GPE funds will be
    used to ensure Inspectors will collect and upload school census data. Because Inspectors and
    Guidance Counsellors as well as Cas, CSOs and NGOs will visit the targeted school regularly, they
    will also be able to perform other tasks required by the NDoE, such as overseeing the national
    examinations and supporting school-level counsellors to provide psycho-social support to
    children affected by COVID-19 related issues such as (sexual) abuse, bullying and violence in

    Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
       - Preparation, administration & oversight of the annual school census
       - Preparation, administration, oversight, correction & reporting for annual examinations –
            Grade 8
       - Establishment and hosting of database that holds the Learning Management System (LMS)
       - Provision of offline LMS in schools

Outcome 4: The education system is more resilient to future disruptions
The Education sector response to COVID-19 provides opportunities to contribute to the ongoing resilience
of the education system in PNG to adapt and respond to future crises. Learning materials are being
developed for distribution on several platforms, accelerated learning programs will be developed and
implemented through schools, and data collected throughout the response will contribute to learning
which can be applied to system strengthening and preparedness for future emergencies.

In order to contribute to increased resilience of the education system, the following intermediate objectives
will be prioritised:

   4.1 Remote learning resources are on the NDoE website for all levels of schooling

        Learning materials which are being developed for all levels of education under this response will
        become a valuable resource for the education system, not only to be able to quickly and effectively
        respond to future emergencies, but also as materials which can be accessed by out of school
        children or used by programs designed to re-engage this group with education. In Phase 4, these
        learning will undergo a final revision before being uploaded to the NDoE website and made
        available for students, teachers and levels of the education system, including CEAs and NGOs. This
        will include multimedia resources, as well as print materials developed which can be copied as

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
           - Revision and finalisation of learning packs, TV, radio and online learning materials for ECE,
                elementary and primary
           - Development of new and additional courses for second chance education for FODE and
                vocational education
           - Publication of finalised learning materials and courses on the NDoE website

   4.2 Adapted learning resources are on the NDoE website for specific sectors and learning needs

        As articulated in intermediate outcome 4.1 reviewing and finalising the teaching and learning
        materials developed throughout this response, and making them available online is important for
        preparedness, as well as improving general availability of learning resources for students and
        teachers. Under this response, targeted activities will ensure that teaching and learning materials
        are adapted to be accessible for children with disabilities, with a range of adaptations considered
        to meet the needs of students with different disabilities. These materials will be revised, finalised
        and made available online to be accessible by all levels of the education system. These will form
        an important resource for mainstream schools to be able to strengthen their capacity to deliver
        inclusive education to all children in their community.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
           - Revision and finalisation of disability inclusive and accessible TV, radio and online content
           - Publication of finalised adapted learning materials and courses on the NDoE website

   4.3 Booster learning resources are available to teachers on the NDoE website for each education
Along with the finalisation and publication of remote learning materials, similar approaches will be
   taken to make available all teaching and learning materials developed to support booster learning
   programs. Beyond this emergency and in addition to building preparedness for future emergencies,
   these will provide a specific resource for schools, CEAs and NGOs to engage with out of school
   children or students who are falling behind in their education to continue to boost learning

    Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
       - Revision and finalization of online, TV and radio teaching and learning materials for booster
            education for elementary and primary
       - Publication of finalized booster education materials on NDoE website

4.4 Research & Learning from the COVID-19 response is shared widely to inform decision making on
    future emergencies impacting the education sector

    COVID-19 school-level data will be collected by the Inspectors and Guidance Officers as well as
    implementing partners such as Church Agencies (Cas), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-
    governmental Organisations (NGOs) similar to the rapid needs assessment to inform the COVID-
    19 Emergency Education Response and Recovery Plan. To ensure methodical data collection, the
    capacity of Inspectors and Guidance Counsellors as well as Cas, CSOs and NGOs will be built to use
    Android devices with a KoBo Toolbox Application. Data can be collected offline and submitted once
    they have access to the internet access. This application will allow for a quick data analysis at the
    national level by the Education Cluster.

    This data will be presented the EiE Task Force at the national and provincial levels to inform and
    review COVID-19 program design and implementation. In addition, the data will be presented at
    quarterly LEG meetings to inform members about COVID-19 Education Program progress made
    to date.

    In the last three months of the COVID-19 program, UNICEF will engage an independent consultant
    to conduct a research on the results achieved under this proposal. The study results will be
    presented to the LEG to inform future emergency responses in PNG.

    NDoE will collaborate closely with the LEG and the EC to ensure that learning from this emergency
    response is captured, shared and used to inform future decision making on preparedness and
    response for future emergencies impacting the education sector. This will include informal
    knowledge sharing forums, building the capacity of district level education officers (such as school
    inspectors) in the area of education in emergencies (EiE), and undertaking thorough research of
    this response to measure impact and identify recommendations for future emergency responses.

    Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
       - Hold knowledge sharing events for the education sector
       - Professional development on EiE for Inspectors and Guidance Officers
       - Study the impact of education response to COVID-19 and document findings and
            recommendations to inform preparedness and future planning
4.5 Schools develop a Disaster Risk Management Plan

        The proposal includes support for schools to develop school-level Disaster Risk Management
        Plans. These plans include responses to different emergency scenarios related to the situation of
        each individual school. COVID 19 outbreak is one of the emergency scenarios and surveillance is a
        key activity each school will include in their disaster risk management plan. Successful approaches
        and lessons learned by schools during response to COVID-19 will be included in the Disaster Risk
        Management Plan, which they can use to implement risk mitigation and preparedness activities,
        as well as quickly respond to and recover from future emergencies. These Disaster Risk
        Management Plans will be also be used to inform district, provincial and national education
        planning, including identifying specific infrastructure and supply needs which can be addressed.

        To ensure students will continue learning in very and extremely remotes schools, the COVID-19
        Education Program, in close collaboration with the Digicel Foundation and other public/private
        partners, will install ICT infrastructure in targeted elementary and primary schools in Western
        and Sandaun provinces to encourage students to learn in an improved school environment
        conducive to teaching and learning.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
           - Schools are supported to develop a Disaster Risk Management Plan
           - Based on Disaster Risk Management Plan:
                   o update prepositioning of EiE supplies in Australia
                   o procure and install/enhance ICT infrastructure in targeted elementary and primary

   4.6 Schools integrate the Disaster Risk Management Plan under Student Welfare Focus Area of School
       Learning Improvement Plans (SLIP)

        Schools will be supported to incorporate their newly developed Disaster Risk Management Plans
        into their SLIP, to ensure that these plans complement each other and the Disaster Risk
        Management Plan effectively feeds into established planning and budgeting processes.

        Activities which will be undertaken to achieve this outcome include:
           - Develop and deliver training on development and implementation of Disaster Risk
                Management Plans and their incorporation into the SLIP

Inclusion and Equity
While remote learning strategies aim to ensure continued learning for all students, we know that the most
marginalised children including children with disabilities, struggling learners, displaced children, children
in the most rural hard-to-reach and poorest communities and girls tasked with caring for family members
may not be able to access these opportunities. Additionally, among these children there may be an increase
in early unwanted pregnancies, drug abuse, hunger (low income families) and sexual abuse (GBV).

By employing a broad range of education delivery mechanisms, as detailed above, the education response
will have increased coverage to reach students more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. Additionally,

You can also read