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The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion school-age children in more than 190 countries. Already last year, 250 million school-age children being out of school, the world was facing a “learning crisis”. But now with the COVID-19 pandemic, this crisis could turn into a generational catastrophe. While many children will continue with their education once schools reopen, others may never return to school. Current estimates indicate that 24 million children will never return to the classroom and among those, disproportional number of girls. To avert this crisis, we need to reimagine how we deliver good quality and inclusive education to the world children. Among other things, this calls for urgent investments in school health and nutrition programmes and create the conditions for children to lead healthy lives. This also includes health and nutrition literacy offered through the curriculum and through counselling in the school health services which provides young people with knowledge, skills, values, culture and behaviours they need to lead healthy, empowered lives.
Adolescent girls' education contributes to a virtuous cycle that has proven positive impact on sustainable development. This report aims to examine progress and persistent gaps in our efforts to achieve gender equality in and through education since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995, and to identify priority actions to be implemented within the Beijing+25 process, the Generation Equality Forum's Action Coalitions, and the Sustainable Development Goals. It shows the importance of adolescent girls' education and provides recommendations for collective action – in particular on three priority levers: Comprehensive sexuality education; the participation of adolescent girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); and the development of adolescent girls' leadership – drawing in particular on consultation processes among international organizations, civil society and adolescent girls in the run-up to the Forum. In all areas, specific levers, intersectoral approaches and multi-stakeholder partnerships are promoted.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) joins together cities from across the world around the common objective of harnessing the potential of culture and creativity for a sustainable future. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people everywhere, and the culture sector has in many ways come to a standstill – cultural events, cinema, theatre and music performances have been cancelled, international tourism has largely ceased, restaurants and markets have closed, amongst others. This has not only impacted the sectors concerned, but also the public, which tends to turn to cultural products and services for education, entertainment, leisure, personal development, or social engagement. While this undoubtably has a serious impact on the economic viability of the cultural sector, the sector's fundamental creativity and ability to inspire social connection remains intact. The information submitted by over 90 Creative Cities from 44 UNESCO Member States shows how cities have come together to nurture new ideas and projects by connecting people to culture and creativity during the pandemic.
This Annex is intended to help policy makers and educators with making decisions on running schools as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the forefront of all considerations and decisions should be the continuity of education for children for their overall well-being, health and safety. Nonetheless, all decisions will have implications for children, parents or caregivers, teachers and other staff and more broadly, their communities and societies. This document was developed with input from the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of Experts on Educational Institutions and COVID-19 and experts from WHO, UNICEF, and UNESCO, who jointly reviewed the latest evidence to develop this interim guidance, which considers equity, resource implications, and feasibility.
COVID-19 unprecedented disruption to education has the potential to roll
back substantial gains made on girls’ education in recent decades, with
broader immediate and longer-term effects on the achievement of the
Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to poverty
reduction, health and well-being, inclusive quality education and gender
equality. The guide, developed by the Malala Fund, Plan International, UNESCO,
UNGEI and UNICEF, aims to help policymakers and practitioners in
ministries of education and their partners address the gender dimensions
of the pandemic-related school closures. It provides targeted
recommendations to ensure continuity of learning while schools are
closed, and to establish comprehensive, timely and evidence-based plans
for reopening schools in a way that is safe, gender-responsive and
In the context of the Global Education Coalition, formed by UNESCO to support governments in their educational response to COVID-19, UNESCO has collaborated with partners to develop a COVID-19 Response Toolkit in Education. The goal of these chapters is to support countries in their educational response to COVID-19 by providing practices and examples, concrete steps for intervention, and tactical action checklists. This particular chapter focuses on the topic of re-enrolment.
UNESCO has been monitoring education responses to COVID-19 globally, collecting and analyzing information and facilitating policy dialogue and experience-sharing. Key policy issues include the timing, the conditionsand processesfor school reopening. The effectiveness of these policy decisions and reopening strategies will depend on the level of preparedness of the education system in terms of infrastructure (health and sanitary measures); teaching staff (ability to provide both psychosocial and academic support); pedagogical preparedness (offering remedial action and alternative modalities to meet learning objectives); learners, families andcommunities (ability and willingness to return to school and readiness to continue learning).
UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response