The closure of schools, universities and other educational institutions, as well as the interruption of many literacy and lifelong learning programmes, has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries.
The pandemic has amplified social, economic and digital inequalities, putting a generation at risk of a learning catastrophe. But it has also reminded us of the centrality of education for every society, as a common good and the bedrock of social cohesion, well-being and opportunity.
Sadly, the COVID-19 crisis and the disruption it creates for education systems is far from over. Many countries are entering new waves of the pandemic which once again are closing schools.
An opportunity to shine a light on education during the crisis
The International Day of Education which will be marked this year on Monday January 25 provides the world with an opportunity to highlight the importance of education in the light of COVID-19.
The triple shock to education funding
Given the very different situations each country faces in respect of the pandemic and its impact on education, UNESCO is encouraging partners to focus on the crucial and universally important issue of financing.
The disruption to already over stretched education systems combined with economic shocks and increased pressure on public finances creates a potentially fatal cocktail for education funding.
Education budgets risk being squeezed by falling government expenditure, shrinking aid budgets and the reallocation of spending outside of education.