The Ministry of Education, on Tuesday, announced that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) would offer assistance in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Maldivian education system.
Notably, UNICEF consultants will assist relevant local authorities to research the pandemic's negative consequences on the Maldivian education system and compile response plans.
UNICEF will identify challenges associated with the commencement of online learning in Maldivian schools for the first time and provide resources and training for teachers to address such challenges. This will include the Google for Education Training Programme as well as training programmes to efficiently utilise Google Classroom and develop appropriate online teaching methods.
In order to ensure a safe online environment for students, UNICEF will collaborate with parents and educators.
Furthermore, UNICEF will provide financial and technical assistance to establish a studio set-up at the National Institute for Education (NIE) to solve challenges in broadcasting the television-based 'Telekilaas' lessons following the closure of schools.
Ministry sponsored Telekilaases were pre-recorded videos aired by Public Service Media (PSM)'s and 'YES TV' on weekdays to facilitate home-based learning for students in Grades 9, 10 and 11, respectively.
As part of the education ministry's effort to prepare for the reopening of schools, UNICEF will aid in bringing any necessary amendments to school curriculums.
UNICEF's aid efforts also involve initiatives to tackle psychological and mental health implications of lockdown measures on students and teachers.
Additionally, the ministry noted UNICEF's donation of books by famous children's authors to young students and the provision of soap to schools in an effort to promote general hygiene.
On behalf of all stakeholders of the education system, the ministry expressed gratitude for UNICEF's "invaluable" assistance during these crucial times.
The closure of schools, universities and training facilities was one of the first measures implemented by the government after declaring a state of public health emergency on March 12.
Till date, education institutions across the country have remained closed for more than a month.
The beginning of the 2021 Academic Year has been scheduled for the middle of the year instead of January.