The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) on Monday announced that it will provide an additional 250 million U.S. dollars to help developing countries respond to the immediate and long-term disruptions to education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This brings GPE’s total coronavirus response funding to more than 500 million dollars, said GPE in a statement, noting that the funding will help sustain learning for up to 355 million children in 67 countries.

The move, according to the statement, came in response to an extremely high demand for GPE’s support.

Since the launch of GPE’s COVID-19 fund on April 1, 48 countries have applied for 511 million dollars in emergency grants, and more are expected to apply in the coming weeks.

GPE’s response came amidst growing concern that the combined impact of school closures and economic hardship caused by the pandemic will increase inequalities and roll back hard-won gains in improving education in some of the world’s poorest countries.

“GPE’s swift response will help mitigate the immediate impacts of this crisis, but it is nowhere near enough,” said GPE Board Chair Julia Gillard.

“We need global action to protect and finance education in order to prevent irreparable damage to our children’s futures,” Gillard added. Enditem

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