Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Education : Global Campaign #SaveOurFuture in the Age of COVID-19

An outdoor class at a school in Copenhagen in Denmark
 Thibault Savary/AFP via Getty Images

“Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies. We are at a defining moment for the world’s children and young people”

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

Some 1 billion students and youth across the planet were affected by school and university closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The United Nations and a Global Education Coalition launched a new campaign on Education #SafeOurFuture. This is the first words by UN Secretary General, António Guterres, on a video message about the prolonged closure of schools around the world due to the pandemic.

Damien Meyer/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations called all countries today, 4th August, to give priority to the reopening schools as soon as countries have controlled the local transmission of the Coronavirus, warning that the current situation of closure poses the risk of a "generational catastrophe".

Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies. It unlocks opportunities and narrows inequalities.
It is the bedrock of informed, tolerant societies, and a primary driver of sustainable development.

via @Corriere.it

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in all countries and all continents. 

Learning losses due to prolonged school closures threaten to erase progress made in recent decades, especially for girls and young women. 

A new policy brief by Secretary-General António Guterres reaffirms that education is a fundamental human right. It advises governments to strengthen the resilience of education systems by placing a strong focus on equity and inclusion.

"We are in the greatest education emergency of our times."

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the education of over 90% of the world’s students. It has exacerbated already existing inequalities and magnified the global learning crisis. The future of an entire generation is at risk.

But while education is clearly a victim of the pandemic, it is also the solution to the longer-term recovery.


Schools across the countries have been closed since March. They will begin in phased reopening from 1 June to September under the governments' lockdown exit strategies. Denmark was the first country in Europe to reopen its schools for the youngest pupils on 15 April. 

An handful of studies have been carried out across the world, and scientists are divided over their interpretation.

Some research indicates that children are far less likely to become infected compared with adults but other studies suggest that when they do become infected, they carry as much viral load as an adult, and therefore pose a real risk of passing the virus on to others.

Increased transmission would also result from parents not having to stay at home with their children, researchers say.

 Copyright  Daniel Leal-Olivais/ AFP
via Euronews

Meanwhile, schools in European countries such as Denmark and Germany reopened. And France, Portugal, UK and Italy will reopen next September.

We are faced the greatest education emergency of our times. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified and exacerbated the global learning crisis. This reality threatens to continue creating lost generations of children without education.

The new campaign will amplify the voices of children and young people and urge governments worldwide to recognize investment in education as critical to COVID-19 recovery.

"⁣The decisions that governments and partners take now will have lasting impact on hundreds of millions of young people, and on the development prospects of countries for decades to come."

via @Corriere.it

The UPolicy Brief calls for action in four key areas:

1st: Reopening schools.
It will be essential to balance health risks against risks to children’s education and protection, and to factor in the impact on women’s labour force participation.
Consultation with parents, carers, teachers and young people is fundamental.

2nd: Prioritizing education in financing decisions. 

Education budgets need to be protected and increased. And it is critical that education is at the heart of international solidarity efforts, from debt management and stimulus packages to global humanitarian appeals and official development assistance.(...)

3rd: Targeting the hardest to reach.  

Education initiatives must seek to reach those at greatest risk of being left behind - people in emergencies and crises; minority groups of all kinds; displaced people and those with disabilities. (...)

4th: The future of education is here.

We have a generational opportunity to reimagine education. (...) To achieve this, we need investment in digital literacy and infrastructure, an evolution towards learning how to learn, a rejuvenation of life-long learning and strengthened links between formal and non-formal education.

And we need to draw on flexible delivery methods, digital technologies and modernized curricula while ensuring sustained support for teachers and communities.

Learn more at Save Our Future


Available in English, Français, Español, Português, العربية

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Maharashtra (India)
credits: Prashant Waydande/ REUTERS

"We are potentially damaging children's life chances. People worry about the pandemic but in the future there might be an epidemic of educational poverty."

Gavin Williamson, UK Education Secretary



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sources: United Nations/ Save Our Future website

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