Find out more on UNESCO-led and UIS-supported initiatives in the COVID-19 education response.

Since the first cases were identified, the coronavirus outbreak has grown into a health crisis of global proportions that threatens lives and containment measures that disrupt our ways of living. It is clear that we have to maintain solidarity to mitigate the impact of this global pandemic, which has far-reaching consequences that may also jeopardize the hard won gains we have made in improving global education as we strive to meet SDG targets. 

In an effort to foster international collaboration and ensure that education never stops, UNESCO is mounting a response with a set of initiatives that include the global monitoring of national and localized school closures. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is contributing to these organization-wide efforts by providing the data needed to monitor the impact on education in the short- and long-term at the international level. In this endeavor, the collaboration of Member States in supplying the UIS with country statistics has proved crucial in helping estimate the scope of the pandemic’s impact on education. Currently, school closures are reported in 188 countries, displacing over 1.5 billion learners and over 63 million teachers.

As UNESCO launches the Global Education Coalition to support Member States, these global numbers of displaced learners and teachers also help target support efforts to where they are most needed. Working in tandem to ensure that adequate measures and relevant steps are taken, the UIS is mobilizing its networks of experts and government statisticians around the world to create an urgently needed contingency plan to ensure this vital data continue to be produced to stay the course towards SDG education targets. In an effort to offer adequate support to countries, the UIS is hosting a series of global and regional virtual meetings with Member States and organizations implicated in education. The series will start with a meeting of the Technical Cooperation Group on the Indicators for SDG 4 (TCG), which will evaluate the need for a dedicated task force to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the production of education statistics.

These virtual meetings will help determine the extent to which national education data collection systems are affected; what data should be prioritized to inform contingency planning in the sector; and how to build strategies to ensure that the most relevant information on education is produced to face future crises as well as design the most adequate policy responses to achieve quality education for all by 2030. For more on UNESCO-led and UIS-supported COVID-19 education responses and initiatives, please check the links below or listed on the right. 

COVID-19 Education Response Initiatives: