Saturday, January 23, 2021

Intl Day of Education : Recover and revitalize education for the COVID-19 generation


credits: Tom Wang/ Shutterstock

"When education is interrupted, it affects everyone – especially students, teachers and families. 

Today, on the third International Day of Education, I pay tribute to their resilience in the face of a pandemic that, at its peak, forced almost every school, institute and university to close its doors.

Although this disruption has led to learning innovations, it has also dashed hopes of a brighter future among vulnerable populations."

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General's message 2021

credits: " UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

The third International Day of Education (January 24) wll marked on Monday 25 January 2021 under the theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, over 800 million students, more than half the world’s student population, still face significant disruptions to their education, ranging from full school closures in 31 countries to reduced or part-time academic schedules in another 48 countries, according to new data released on UNESCO’s interactive monitoring map.

Now is the time to power education by stepping up collaboration and international solidarity to place education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery.

The International Education Day occurs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to a global learning disruption of unprecedented scale and severity. The closure of schools, universities and other learning institutions, as well as the interruption of many literacy and lifelong learning programmes, has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries. And continues affect because all the schools and universities after reopening first days in January are re-closed once more.

credits: Elyx Yak

As a new year began, is the time to step up collaboration and international solidarity to place education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery and the transformation towards more inclusive, safe and sustainable societies.

The global event for the Day was planned along three main segments

  • learning 

  • heroes, 

  • innovations, and financing.

Organized in partnership with the UNESCO New York Office, UNHQ, the Global Partnership for Education and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (CRI), and feature the participation of partners from the Global Education Coalition. 

Learning Planet Festival

Capturing the spirit of the International Day of Education, CRI and UNESCO have spearheaded a Learning Planet Festival to celebrate learning in all contexts and share innovations that fulfill the potential of every learner, no matter what their circumstances. 

Writing Essay Contest Le Petit Prince

The CRI will also be unveiling the winners of an essay contest of “Le Petit Prince”.  

Imagine that the Little Prince is Back!

Capturing the spirit of the International Day of Education, UNESCO and partners have spearheaded the Learning Planet Festival to celebrate learning in all contexts and share innovations that fulfil the potential of every learner, no matter what their circumstances. 

The winners of an essay contest of “Le Petit Prince” will be unveiled as part of the Day’s celebrations.

Some thoughts:

Unfortunately, European countries  have decided not to open schools after Christmas break like the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands. All have delayed returning children to the classroom.

Other like Portugal and France reopened schools but for the moment Portugal has re-closed during 15 days (primary and secondary schools), universities are on remote learning. Only France continues with schools open.

I think it will be another difficult year to commitment and follow-up actions taken to protect education through the recovery, increase inclusion and combat drop-out 

Scientists have warned of the risks of reopening schools as Covid-19 rates are on the rise across Europe.

credits: UNESCO

500 million students are unable to access education due to the shift to remote learning. 

100 school days lost on average in 2020If one day without school is already one too many, can you imagine a 100?

"Governments have endeavoured to minimize country-wide closures – down from 190 countries at the peak in April 2020 to 30 countries now –in favour of partial and/or local closures. Schools are now fully open in 101 countries."


The #COVID19 crisis caused the largest ever learning disruption, affecting 1.6 billion students worldwide.

Full school closures must be a last resort & reopening them safely a priority. Indeed. 


How to give voice to the COVID-19 generation to express their concerns and aspirations in the face of a future marked by an economic recession and climate change? Students feel vulnerable.

That's the principal interrogation on this third International Day of Education. The challenges to achieving universal education can't be real.


"As the world continues to battle the pandemic, education – as a fundamental right and a global public good – must be protected to avert a generational catastrophe.

In 2021, we must seize all opportunities to turn this situation around.

We must also step up our efforts to reimagine education – training teachers, bridging the digital divide and rethinking curricula to equip learners with the skills and knowledge to flourish in our rapidly changing world."

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General's message 2021 



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sources: UN/UNESCO

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