The number of children, youth and adults not attending schools or universities because of COVID-19 is soaring.
In response, UNESCO convened a global video conference of high education officials to step up the emergency response and share strategies to minimize learning disruption worldwide.
Seventy-three countries were represented including 24 education ministers and 15 vice ministers from China, Croatia, Egypt, France, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
According to data released up to date by UNESCO, the crisis is now impacting close to 363 million learners worldwide, from the pre-primary to tertiary level, including 57.8 million students in higher education. One in five students worldwide is staying away from school due to the COVID-19 crisis and an additional one in four is being kept out of higher education establishments.
Governments in 113 countries have closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the global pandemic. Since March 16, fifteen countries have ordered nationwide school closures and 14 have implemented localized closures, spanning Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.
“We are entering uncharted territory and working with countries to find hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech solutions to assure the continuity of learning,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “As countries try to prepare their response, international cooperation is vital to share the most effective approaches and support students, teachers and families. UNESCO is stepping up its support to ensure this crisis promotes innovation and inclusion and does not exacerbate learning inequalities.”
To steer the global response, UNESCO announced the creation of a UNESCO-COVID19 Emergency Task Force that will support national responses and share effective policy responses with a focus on the most vulnerable countries. A wider community of practice will be established to enhance knowledge sharing, peer learning and capacity building on distance and open learning. UNESCO aims to mobilize all actors involved, including the private sector. Partners such as Microsoft have already lent technical support to the Task Force.
Government representatives shared approaches and best practices during their exchange to ensure continuity of learning during school closures, the duration of which is unpredictable at this stage.
UNESCO published a list of educational applications and platforms to help parents, teachers, schools and school systems facilitate student learning and provide social caring and interaction during periods of school closure. While these solutions do not carry UNESCO’s explicit endorsement, they tend to have wide reach, a strong user-base and evidence of impact. Most of the solutions are free and several support multiple languages.
Also a list of national learning portals and tools to help assure the continuity of education during COVID-19 school closures.
Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.
In 2018 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, to honor education and its centrality to human well-being and sustainable development.
Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.
Today, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.
Celebration of International Education Day at UNESCO
In partnership with the CRI (Centre for Research and Interdisciplinary), UNESCO headquarters organizes on 24 January 2020 a public event in line with the 2020 theme, learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace, this Paris celebration will feature talks and discussions with education leaders from around the world, including youth leaders.
Follow the event live,tarting at 2 p.m. (Paris time)
More information about the programme and event here: Celebration of International Day of Education at UNESCO
Celebration of International Education Day at UN
A celebration event is organized by the Office of the President of the General Assembly in collaboration with UNESCO and other Permanent Missions of member states. The event will bring together the voices of governments, the UN system, civil society, private sector and youth organizations to straighten collective action for education, warning that the world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.
Under the title “Aligning Inclusive Quality Education Policies with Sustainable Development Goals” the event will call for further commitments to advance the progress towards SDG 4 by leveraging multilateral action to ensure that ecveryone has access to quality education.
More information about the programme and event here: Celebration of International Day of Education at UN
Celebration of International Education Day by GWI
With over 100 years of experience in advocating for safe access to quality, lifelong education for all women and girls worldwide, Graduate Women International (GWI) recalls its achievements in the field of education such as: numerous policy resolutions concerning the right to education, several Bina Roy Partners in Development programmes strive for educating women in various areas, the five girls supported by the Teachers for Rural Futures project graduated this January, and grants and fellowships awarded each year to support women in accessing education. Collected interviews from its many members around the world in a mosaic video will be published on 24 January on GWI’s website and social media channels.. The participants were asked to answer one of the following questions: What is the role of education today? What more can be done to improve education for women and girls in your country? Why are you a member of GWI?Also, have a look at the Facts & Figures Infographic published.
Sudha Srivastava from British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) shared with us her Education Acrostic specially created for Day of Education. Well done, Sudha!
Let’s celebrate the achievements of education together!