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Reopening the Future: Prioritizing Pre-primary Education

Global Education Summit Side Event
(Past event)

Event type: Webinar

Related research: Education

events27 July 2021time08:00 - 09:00 EST

Why prioritize Early Childhood Education in schools reopening?

COVID-related pre-primary school closures in 2020 are estimated to cost $1.6 trillion in lost future earnings — the equivalent of 12 years of total international aid for development. As a result, young children’s learning opportunities have been severely limited during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their experiences with extended school closures can have significant long-term effects, with pre-school-aged children in middle-income countries bearing the greatest risk of negative impact.

But it’s not too late to act on early learning.

UNICEF and education partners encourage governments, donors, and implementers, to prioritize the reopening of pre-primary schools, resource recovery measures that systematically incorporate pre-primary, and roll out transition programs to support children left out of pre-primary education in 2020.

This is also a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to build back resilient ECE systems. The ripple effects of investing in ECE as schools reopen will be felt long into the future. Prioritizing ECE now will get more children learning (in school earlier and for longer), build stronger links with families, boost economies, contribute to gender equality, and, in the long run, help create more sustainable, peaceful, and resilient societies.

Event Overview

On the sidelines of the Global Education Summit: Financing GPE 2021–2025, UNICEF, UNESCO, and The World Bank Group invite partners to participate in a webinar on ‘Reopening the Future: Prioritizing Pre-primary Education.’

Taking place online on the 27th of July, 2021, this webinar will highlight the need to prioritize Early Childhood Education in the COVID response-recovery, exploring the challenges and opportunities presented in schools re-opening. Through a multi-perspective panel of education researchers, experts, and practitioners, the case for prioritizing ECE in the context of school reopenings will be explored using cost-of-inaction analyses, country case studies on the use of the Global Guidance on Reopening ECE Settings, and successful adaptations for children with disabilities and their inclusion in ECE.

Participants will learn through the sharing of good practices and implementer experiences, how partners are working to address learning gaps, and the role and potential of ECE bridge/catch-up programs in stemming ECE learning loss.

The webinar will consist of opening remarks by senior education representatives from UNICEF, UNESCO, and The World Bank Group, followed by a moderated panel discussion by education researchers, practitioners, and experts from Malawi, Mongolia, Senegal, and Uganda.

A plenary will follow the panel discussion, inviting participants to participate in a question and answer session.


Robert Jenkins, Global Director of Education, UNICEF

Borhene Chakroun, Director, Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, UNESCO​ (TBC)

Jaime Saavedra, Global Director, Education, The World Bank Group (TBC)

Amanda Devercelli, Global Lead for Early Childhood Development, The World Bank Group


Moderator: Gwang-Chol Chang, Chief of the Education Policy Section, UNESCO

Mr. Ba, Director for Preschool Education, Ministry of Education — Senegal

Ajwok Mary Valentino, Global Youth Ambassador, TheirWorld — Uganda

Betty Moses, Education, and Disability Specialist, Sightsavers — Malawi

Ms. Myagmar, Head of Pre-Primary Education Department, Ministry of Education and Science — Mongolia

Anindita Nugroho, Education Research Consultant, UNICEF-Innocenti


COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education

What have we learnt? Overview of findings from a survey of Ministries of Education on national responses to COVID-19

How are Countries Preparing to Mitigate Learning Loss as Schools Reopen? Trends and emerging good practices to support the most vulnerable children

Follow along on social media:

For key highlights and to participate in upcoming education events, follow along on Twitter @UNICEFInnocenti 


Dita Nugroho

UNICEF Innocenti


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