GPE KIX Observatory says financing is key to strengthen educational system resilience and learning continuity

Abidjan/Ouagadougou, 29 April 2021 – The KIX Observatory Consortium, composed of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and the African Union’s International Centre for Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africa (AU/CIEFFA), hosted a webinar on Education Financing, Teacher and Learner Well-being and School Reopening on the 29th April 2021 with the overall aim of sharing information and experiences regarding educational policy and practice interventions in the 40 Global Partnership for Education partner countries in Africa.

Mr. Albert Nsengiyumva, ADEA Executive Secretary, welcomed the webinar participants that included Hon. Prof. Stanislas Ouaro, Minister for National Education, Literacy and Promotion of National Languages, Burkina Faso and Dr Jane Egau,  Director for  Higher Technical and Vocational Education and Training in the Ministry of Education and Sports, Uganda; education experts and representatives from Ministries of Education in GPE African partner countries; KIX focal points; UN Agencies; development partners; academic and research institutions; civil society organizations; and African youth networks.

In her introductory remarks, Dr. Rita Bissoonauth, Head of Mission, AU/CIEFFA, highlighted how challenging it has been for countries to trade-off between addressing health-related COVID-19 priorities and educational priorities, as these are competing for the few financial resources available in Africa.

“Substantial resources are necessary to keep our schools open and to ensure continued learning during the time schools are closed,” noted Dr. Bissoonauth.

Moreover, she encouraged countries and development partners to contribute to this initiative for knowledge creation and information sharing. 

Ms. Margarita Focas Licht, Chief of Effective Partnerships for GPE, emphasized the importance of making evidence available to governments as they seek to strengthen educational system resilience and support learning continuity, adding that COVID-19 has created the biggest disruption to education ever seen. 

“At the peak the COVID-19 related school closures, 1.6 billion learners were out of school including 810 million in lower income countries,” she noted.

She also shared that the US$500 million mobilized by GPE to support partner countries’ education system responses to the pandemic is sustaining learning for up to 355 million children in 66 countries. 

Mr. Shem Bodo, ADEA Senior Programs Officer and Ms. Maria Mdachi, the Gender Expert from AU/CIEFFA, presented evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on education financing, focusing on funding priorities for GPE African partner countries, sources of funding from government and external partners, country responses to financing education during COVID 19 and reflections on the gender dimension of education financing.

The presenters explained that many African countries were already facing shortfalls in funding education before COVID-19 and that the pandemic has brought additional challenges for educational systems and the well-being of teachers and learners. They also underlined that before COVID-19, Sub-Saharan Africa was performing well in terms of gender parity at the primary education level, but there were widening gaps at secondary and higher education levels and called onpartner countries to integrate gender considerations into public expenditure, increase the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, and focus on effective domestic financing.

Their presentation also looked at findings in the Observatory’s first report published on April 26, 2021, which points to the long-term damage that is possible and expected due to inadequate resourcing for education. The report highlights four priority areas for educational system funding in Africa to face the challenges posed by the pandemic: remote learning during school closures, teacher training on remote learning technologies, the inclusion of vulnerable populations in education, and sanitation materials and other required resources needed for school reopening.

Ms. Julie Gichuru, Head of Public Affairs and Communications of the MasterCard Foundation, moderated a panel discussion between Hon Prof. Stanilas Ouaro and Dr. Jane Egau who shared their countries’ experiences regarding education financing and well-being as a result of COVID-19 related school closures. 

Hon. Prof. Ouaro shed light on the challenges Burkina Faso is facing in relation to the well-functioning of the country’s education system and learner well-being, and further elaborated on challenges related to infrastructure and human and pedagogical resources. 

Dr Egau observed that Uganda’s education system was ill-prepared to offer distance learning when the school closures occurred in March 2020. The initial response plan had been prepared with the expectation that closures would only last for a month, yet these were extended to nine months.

Following the presentations and panel discussions, Prof. Hellen Inyega, Director for Early Grade Reading Institute in Kenya’s University of Nairobi and Dr. Cecilia Baldeh, UNICEF’s Regional Education Adviser for West and Central Africa called on education stakeholders to rethink Africa’s education system and not replicate the pre-COVID-19 system, noting how the latter had not fully accommodated the needs of learners even before the pandemic. They suggested that education sector plans should include cost contingency and emergency response plans and capacity. 

Dr. Moses Ngware, Head of Education and Youth Empowerment research unit at the African Population and Health Research Centre, outlined the need for countries to invest in Early Childhood Education and echoed one of the participants’ call to adopt an Afro-centric curriculum to support Africa’s educational systems, in line with the African Union Agenda 2063 and CESA 2016-2025. The Centre is responsible for collecting and synthesizing COVID-19 education policy and practice responses in GPE partner countries.

Closing the webinar, the Executive Secretary of ADEA, Mr. Albert Nsengiyumva, underscored the importance of a hybrid approach to education, with face-to-face teaching and learning as the primary focus and the use of remote learning as a supplement, emphasizing access and equity to eliminate gaps and ensure the return of every girl back to school.

Background on GPE KIX Observatory on COVID-19 Responses in Africa’s Educational Systems

The Observatory serves as a one-stop-shop for tracking information and evidence about COVID-19 policies and responses in primary and secondary education to inform policies and best practices for 40 GPE partner countries in Africa. 

The video of the webinar is available here:


To learn more about the KIX Observatory, kindly contact:

For queries and interviews schedule, kindly contact:



About ADEA

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is the voice of education in Africa and a key network of Education Ministries. It plays a significant role in the education space as a convener, knowledge creator and forum for policy dialogue, working through its Inter-Country Quality Nodes (ICQNs) and the Task Force on Education Management and Policy Support. ADEA contributes to the empowerment of African countries to develop quality education and training systems that respond to the countries' emergent needs and drive social and economic transformation sustainably.



The African Union International Centre for Girls and Women’s Education in Africa (AU/CIEFFA) is a specialized institution of the African Union under the Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology. The Centre aims to promote girls’ and women’s education with a view towards their full participation in the eradication of poverty and the edification of a peaceful world for sustainable human development.



The African Population and Health Research Center is Africa’s premier research institution and think tank, generating evidence to drive policy action to improve the health and wellbeing of African people.



The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is the official and trusted source of internationally-comparable data on education, science, culture and communication. As the official statistical agency of UNESCO, the UIS produces a wide range of indicators in UNESCO’s fields of action by working with national statistical offices, line ministries and other statistical organizations. The UIS Director serves as the Organization’s chief statistician.


About GPE

GPE is a shared commitment to ending the world’s learning crisis. We mobilize partners and funds to support 76 lower-income countries to transform their education systems so that every girl and boy can get the quality education they need to unlock their full potential and contribute to building a better world. GPE is currently calling on world leaders to “Raise Your Hand” and pledge at least $5 billion for the next five years to help GPE transform education in up to 87 countries, which are home to more than 1 billion children.


About IDRC

IDRC is a Canadian Crown corporation that collaboratively works with researchers from the developing world in search for their own solutions for building healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies. IDRC achieves this by providing developing-country researchers with financial resources, advice, and training to help them find solutions to local problems, encouraging knowledge sharing with policymakers, researchers, and communities around the world, and fostering new talent by offering fellowships and awards.