The gradual activation of schools through remote learning together with weekly pedagogical assistance requires intersectoral support to ensure a safe return to classes. Cluster partners warn that the defunding of the sector is affecting many local NGOs and disrupting some of their operations.
Conditions for educational continuity during preventive school closures are adverse, including reduced access to connectivity, limited technological availability and intermittent power services. These circumstances have greater impact on the most vulnerable children and adolescents with disabilities, indigenous population and children and adolescents in hospitals.
For Mental Health Day (October 10), the Education Cluster, with the support of the children and adolescent AoR and its partners, launched the transmedia learning box, with open resources relating to mental health, psychosocial support and child and adolescent protection for teachers, public officials and learning communities.
On October 12, an event entitled “The centrality of education for the post-pandemic world” was organized with the participation of the Global and Regional Cluster, in-country authorities from OCHA, UNICEF and UNESCO, and civil society representatives, aiming to advocate for prioritizing the education sector in the 2021 humanitarian response.
Moreover, the second group began the course “The right to education in times of crisis” organized by Save The Children and supported by the Education Cannot Wait fund with new modules on the safe reopening of schools and humanitarian management for civil society.
In order to improve the learning conditions and educational continuity of children and adolescents, during October, distribution of educational materials for individuals and households continued. This initiative reached a total of 165,853 children and adolescents (49 per cent girls and 51 per cent boys), mainly in Bolivar and Zulia. Likewise, 41,992 children and adolescents (47 per cent girls and 53 per cent boys) were reached with the distribution of dry food through the support of the school feeding program, benefiting mostly children and adolescents in the Capital District and Miranda.
2,782 adolescents and young people (56 per cent girls and 44 per cent boys) participated in remote learning initiatives aimed at promoting educational levelling, life skills and technical training, mostly in Miranda and Zulia. 33,922 children and adolescents were assisted with psycho-educational support activities online, by telephone or through home visits (51 per cent girls and 49 per cent boys) in the Capital District and Zulia.
One of the new activities incorporated in the response to COVID-19 was remote education through multiplatform resources (television, radio, virtual and/or printed) for children and adolescents affected by school closures. During this period, 17,640 students were reached, mostly in the Capital District and Zulia.
In October, the reach of key messages aimed at the school community was the highest since they began to be disseminated through social media and the Fe y Alegría National Radio Network. The latter is strengthening its capabilities within the framework of the project financed by the Education Cannot Wait fund, reaching 8,946,429 people, especially in Anzoategui and Tachira.
Initiatives for the educational reintegration of out-of-school children and adolescents also continued, with 3,885 (48 per cent girls and 52 per cent boys) participating in the non-formal education and learning space in Miranda and Zulia. In addition, scholarships and other incentives were offered to teachers and staff, reaching 537 people (18 per cent women and 82 per cent men), mainly in Tachira and Zulia.
For the HRP 2021, the Education Cluster updated the humanitarian logical framework based on a Secondary Data Review (SDR) developed with the support of the Global Cluster and the annual review workshop with the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG).
Limited international funding for the sector aggravates the situation and jeopardizes the sustainability of the actions. This is particularly critical for local and community organizations that do not have the support of international funds. The lack of funds has resulted in a gap in the educational reintegration of out-of-school children of 94 per cent. Likewise, the gap in life skills and technical training activities with adolescents and young people is 83 per cent, the gap in the distribution of school kits is 75 per cent, and in regard to school meals, only a little more than half of the target has been reached.
Despite the efforts of national authorities and the support of the Cluster in the availability of a remote multi-platform offer, access differs between states, which is deepened by the lack of international funding for sustainable sources of internet, improvement of electricity service and technological investment in remote communities. Support from the education sector for the reception and inclusion of returnees is also underfunded.
Urgent financial support is required to ensure rapid cross-sectoral deployment with WASH, Protection and Health operational actions for a safe return to school by 2021.