Global Partnership for Education approves $2,500,000 Grant for the FSM

FSM Information Services 

March 11, 2021

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—The Global Partnership for Education has approved $2.5 million for a new grant for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). This new grant will contribute to establishing 1- year compulsory Early Childhood Education (ECE) for the Nation’s 5-year-olds. The objective is to prepare the enabling environment and achieve the implementation of 1-year compulsory ECE for 5- year-olds in the FSM by the year 2024.

The program will focus on comprehensive areas on ECE, including review of the ECE Policy and Legislative Framework, refurbishing ECE classrooms, developing a school nutrition strategy, providing quality in-service teacher training on ECE, supplying teaching and learning materials, and fostering parental and community engagement. Special attention will be paid to ensuring sustainability, such as leaving no child behind, including children with special needs.

“The quality of our education system is one of the things—like the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the existential threat of Climate Change—that keeps me up at night,” His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, said in a statement. “Our Nation’s children deserve the absolute best education possible, not only for our Nation’s continued sovereignty and economic sustainability, but for the promotion of peace, unity, and liberty, and for each individual citizen to attain each level on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I am deeply grateful for this news of Global Partnership for Education support, which will help this paradise in our backyards attain compulsory ECE services for all of our Nation’s youngest citizens.”

“We are appreciative and grateful for this news of Global Partnership for Education support, which will without a doubt complement our on-going efforts to provide quality ECE and education as a whole in the FSM. We look forward to enhance a great working relationship and collaboration for a successful implementation of a 1-year compulsory ECE as part of our strategic plan,” said Wayne Mendiola, Acting Secretary of the Department of Education (DOE).

“Small island states face unique challenges due to their size and remoteness,” said Alice Albright, the

Global Partnership for Education’s Chief Executive Officer.

In February 2020, with the finalization of the Education Sector Strategic Development Plan (ESSDP) 2020-2024 in progress, the FSM National Government began the process for applying for Global Partnership for Education’s Education Sector Plan Implementation Grant (ESPIG).

President Panuelo and the DOE decided to focus the ESPIG on the ECE sub-sector due to the Nation’s priorities, and the already substantive support from other partners in the other sub-sectors of education. Supported by the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the DOE conducted a number of consultations with relevant national and state-level stakeholders, to develop a program focused on achieving 1-year compulsory ECE for 5-year-old children in the FSM.

At present, formal education only becomes mandatory for 6-year-old children entering first grade.

The ESPIG application was approved on February 11th, 2021 with three years for its implementation period, which is expected to start from July 2021. UNICEF is the GPE grant agent, whose responsibilities include the managing of funds in alignment with the activities and budgets outlined in the grant program, agreed by the DOE and endorsed by the Local Education Group. Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) is the coordinating agency.

UNICEF’s Chief for the FSM, Cromwell Bacareza, said “UNICEF is grateful for this great opportunity supported by Global Partnership for Education. With the strengthened collaboration with the DOE at the national and state level, and relevant actors, we are ready to work harder to promote learning and wellbeing of young children who will be, and will create, the future of the FSM.”

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