Australia provides an additional AUD 12 million contribution for COVID-19 interventions in education sector
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
PORT MORESBY, 21 MAY 2021 – The effort to help school children impacted by COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea today received a significant boost.
An additional AUD 12 million (PGK33 million) investment was announced by the Australian Government to support ongoing COVID-19 related interventions in the Papua New Guinean education sector.
The funds will be channeled through UNICEF PNG and will strengthen the delivery of the National Department of Education’s COVID-19 Education Emergency Response and Recovery Plan.
This is the Australian Government’s second major contribution to the Response and Recovery Plan which will help ensure continuity of learning in targeted elementary, primary and secondary schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia’s support will include water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in schools that will reach more than half a million students and printing and dissemination of learning packs for schools. The National Capital District, Morobe, Madang, Western and Sandaun will be supported.
Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor, Paul Lehmann, said that Australia is proud to provide additional support to strengthen the Department of Education’s response to COVID-19. He said enabling girls and boys to continue to learn through the global pandemic is important for PNG’s education sector.
In June 2020, Australia also provided PGK11 million towards the Education Emergency Response and Recovery Plan. This funding is being used for a range of interventions including COVID-19 awareness messaging, home learning packs, menstrual hygiene packs and water, sanitation and hygiene interventions across secondary schools in Madang, Morobe, Western and Sanduan, and primary and secondary schools in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
“The Department of Education thanks the government and people of Australia for the additional funding of K33 million (AUD 12m) to use to support the COVID-19 interventions in our schools and institutions so that teaching and learning continue as normal throughout the pandemic. These funds will support our efforts to reach as many schools and more provinces due to the rising number of positive cases being reported each week by the PNG National Control Centre for COVID-19,” Secretary for Education, Dr. Uke Kombra said.
UNICEF Acting Country Representative, Judith Bruno, highlighted over 400 hours of class time had been lost by school children due to closures across Papua New Guinea, as we entered the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has only increased the challenges that many children face in accessing quality education and threatens critical skill development, such as reading, writing and math. Now, with this generous support from the Australian Government, more Papua New Guinean children will continue to learn the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century economy as part of the national COVID-19 response,” Judith Bruno added.
This is an important component of the Papua New Guinean Government’s COVID-19 response and aims to sustain learning during and after the pandemic. This work supports the inclusion of marginalized children, particularly those living in remote areas and children living with disabilities. It also has a strong focus on supporting girls in education.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Papua New Guinea, visit https://www.unicef.org/png/