On 5th March 2020, a COVID-19 Humanitarian Operations Cell (HOC) composed of the Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC), Heads of UN agencies and NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) was established to lead the strategic management of the humanitarian response to the COVID-19 situation, including coordination and engagement with government authorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and Federal Iraq. A request was made to all clusters to prioritize HRP activities under programme criticality levels, 1, 2 and 3 including the categorization of activities directly relating to COVID19 containment, prevention or response. Unfortunately, none of the HRP/ 3RP education activities fall under programme criticality level 1,2 or 3.
Prior to the HoC meeting, both the Ministries of Education (KRI and Federal) had closed all schools and suspended all education related activities throughout the country. There is uncertainty as to when schools will reopen in the country, and this could range anywhere from a few weeks to months.
Purpose of this guidance note
The purpose of this guidance note is to give partners ideas of how they can continue to support learners during this period when schools are closed. A separate guidance will follow on how the education partners can support the Ministries of Education to re- start learning and the activities to prioritize once the shutdown of schools is lifted.
A. Remote Learning through digital platforms
Digital platforms such as the internet, TV and radio are great alternatives to physical schooling given the current circumstances. However, it is well understood that not all children in Iraq, particularly the most vulnerable will have access to these digital platforms and such interventions will service a small segment of the cluster’s target population. Efforts will continue to be made to spread access to digital platforms even to the most vulnerable school aged populations.