UNICEF helps Sri Lankan children with no access to online learning

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supported the Ministry of Education (MoE) and National Institute of Education (NIE) to develop and distribute learning material for grade 1 and 2 students, impacted by the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The print-based material, currently being dispatched to the Provincial Departments of Education for distribution, will help ensure the provision of home-based learning for all 665,000 lower primary students across the country.

The most vulnerable children including those in the most remote areas, with limited or no access to online learning and other platforms, will benefit through the home-based learning opportunity.

The learning material includes both exploratory and academic activities through Languages, Mathematics and Environmental Related Activities (ERA) and covers both the Sinhala and Tamil streams.

Speaking on the initiative, Tim Sutton, UNICEF Representative for Sri Lanka said “With to the extended closure of schools, it is crucial that children continue some form of learning and development activities to keep them engaged and active. Providing such opportunities, especially for those living in the most remote areas with limited or no access to television or web-based learning platforms, will help ensure that they can continue their education so that no child is left behind.”

The learning package also provides, simple guidance for parents and caregivers to enable them to support their child’s learning and development activities during the lock-down. The children are expected to submit all completed study materials once school reopens.

In support of the initiative, Australian High Commissioner David Holly said “Australia is pleased to support this initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and other partners. Printed learning materials will ensure continued education for children during the school closure period”. This initiative is part of Australia’s recently announced AUD 1.5million package of support to Sri Lanka to prepare and respond to the impacts of COVID-19.

This educational initiative is being financially supported by UNICEF, the Government of Australia, Room to Read, Save the Children and Child Fund Sri Lanka in response to the need to sustain educational activities for children during COVID-19 pandemic. (Colombo Gazette)