On International Day of Education, UNESCO promotes learning recovery for students affected by COVID-19

Paris:  With over half of the world’s student population still affected by full or partial school closures, UNESCO and the global education community will celebrate the third International Day of Education (January 24) with a series of virtual events under the theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’.

On 25 January, UNESCO is partnering with Global Minnesota  for the celebrations of the International Day of Education in the United States. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay will join teachers, educators and policymakers in a virtual meeting to reflect on education as a Human Right, a Public Good, and a Public Responsibility.

On 25 January, from 2pm to 5pm (Central European Time), UNESCO will host a global online event, organized in partnership with the United Nations Headquarters, the Global Partnership for Education and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (CRI). Director-General Azoulay will open the three-part observance of the International Day of Education with the President of the 75th UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, Odd-Inge Kvalheim, representing the Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning.

Bringing together a range of actors from grassroots to global level, the event will focus on the need to mobilize intellectual and financial resources to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 disruption and address profound pre-existing structural issues.

In 2020, the pandemic resulted in an unprecedented global learning disruption and school closures affected over 1.6 billion learners in over 190 countries. As the virus resurges, around 1 billion students continue to be affected by the full or partial closure of schools and universities, increasing the risk of learning loss, dropping out of education and social isolation. UNESCO will release new comprehensive data, showing an average loss of 100 school days for students globally.

This International Day of Education aims to:

  • Stimulate commitments and actions to ensure educational recovery, increase inclusion and reduce drop-out rates,
  • Celebrate initiatives led by governments, educators and organizations as well as partnerships to build back more resilient and inclusive education systems,
  • Advocate for increased financing and best practices in equitable education funding that effectively serves the most disadvantaged (new global country profiles on UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report website go live on 24 January, PEER)
  • Give a voice to the COVID-19 generation to express their concerns and aspirations in the face of a future under the shadow of economic recession and climate change.

The virtual event will feature three main segments dedicated to ‘learning heroes’, innovation, and financing.

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 help every learner fulfill their potential regardless of circumstances. The CRI will also unveil the names of the winners of an essay competition around Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince).

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