UNESCO is calling for teachers to be prioritised in national COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans to ensure education can continue safely and schools remain open. Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General warned “no screen can ever replace a teacher”.
This new map Prioritization of teachers in COVID-19 vaccine rollout (unesco.org), shows the results of a survey conducted by UNESCO and the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 in March 2021.
Only 17 out of 149 countries prioritise teachers in the first phase of vaccination efforts. Another 20 countries include teachers as a priority group for the second phase of vaccinations. Meanwhile, 56 countries do not prioritize teachers in national vaccine rollout plans.
UNESCO and partners urge all countries to consider teachers as frontline workers during the pandemic. Safeguarding teachers through mass inoculation efforts are critical given their key role in ensuring the right of all children to a quality education.
Audrey Azoulay has been calling for teachers to be prioritized in vaccination programmes since December 2020 when she issued a joint-appeal with David Edwards, the General Secretary of Education International.
“Teachers and support personnel are on the frontline. As classes moved online they reinvented the way we teach, we learn, and when schools reopened, teachers returned “courageously” to the classroom.schools. All countries should prioritize teachers for vaccination.”
(Audrey Azoulay and David Edwards, December 2020)
The new data on teachers and the vaccine is published after UNESCO’s Education Ministerial Meeting, held on Monday 29th March, at which 85 Education ministers discussed how to prevent learning losses from deepening.