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Regional Fit for School Program Steering Meeting – WASH in Schools and COVID-19

On the 17th of June, the Regional Fit for School Program, together with SEAMEO Secretariat, SEAMEO INNOTECH and RECFON and government partners from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR and the Philippines, held its annual Regional Program Steering Committee Meeting to discuss and set out the directions for the program, which is ongoing until November 2021.

This year’s Regional Steering Meeting had a special focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and the health challenges that it poses to schools, and the importance of WASH in tackling these challenges and preparing schools for reopening.

The meeting was held entirely online due to the current global travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, making this the first time that the Regional Steering Meeting was held virtually. The meeting provided an important forum for representatives from the education ministries of program partners to share their own country’s experience in handling the pandemic and the WASH in Schools measures that they are planning or implementing as part of their country’s COVID-19 Response.

Another important point of discussion during the meeting was on how the program and its partners can collaboratively use the current momentum for WASH in Schools generated by the pandemic to strengthen WASH in Schools as part of the education sector. With worldwide discussions now centred around global health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a unique opportunity for the Ministries of Education to potentially make crucial long-term improvements for WASH in Schools that can greatly contribute to the health of school children with support from the Fit for School program.