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What does the evidence tell us about keeping schools open safely – High level ministerial meeting UNESCO

What does the evidence tell us about keeping schools open safely – High level ministerial meeting UNESCO

As the world enters a second year living with the COVID-19 pandemic, half of the global student population is still affected by full or partial school closures. To mobilize and support learning continuity, UNESCO established the Global Education Coalition which today counts 160 members working around three central themes: Gender, connectivity and teachers.

On 29 March 2021, UNESCO convened a high-level ministerial meeting “One year into COVID: Prioritizing education recovery to avoid a generational catastrophe” to take stock of lessons learnt, the greatest risks facing education today and strategies to leave no learner behind. During this meeting, Professor Didier Jourdan, chair holder of the UNESCO Chair and head of the WHO Collaborating Center Global Health and Education, was invited to present a state-of-the-art review of the evidence about keeping schools open safely.

Professor Jourdan presented three solid facts:

  • schools should be among the last places to close and first to reopen
  • school reopening, with comprehensive infection prevention and control measures in place, and when the community infection levels were low or moderate, did not increase community transmission
  • the mechanisms of implementation in schools involve institutional, contextual and personal factors

Read the transcript of the presentation

More information about the high level ministerial meeting

Posted by Didier in News
One year into COVID: Prioritizing education recovery to avoid a generational catastrophe

One year into COVID: Prioritizing education recovery to avoid a generational catastrophe

Monday 29 March, 14:00 CET, a high-level Ministerial on-line event

As the world enters a second year living with the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO will convene a high-level ministerial event on 29 March to take stock of lessons learnt, the greatest risks facing education and strategies to leave no learner behind, building on the actions of the Global Education Coalition (GEC) established in March 2020 that marks its first anniversary.

The meeting will provide the global education community with a space for policy dialogue to assess lessons learnt and the most pressing current challenges, informed by the presentation of key data sets. Main participants will be Ministers of Education, high-level representatives of partners within the GEC and of sister agencies. The debate will be framed around three key topics related to:

  • School dropout & learning loss: what are the top policy measures taken to mitigate against school drop out? What remedial actions have been most successful so far to make up for learning loss?
  • Keeping schools open, prioritizing and supporting teachers: how to keep schools open as a priority and ensure a safe learning environment? How to ensure that teachers are safe, considered as frontline workers and supported to adapt to a new learning reality?
  • Digital transformation and the future of education:  what are the key strategies for digital transformation of education systems? How can public-private partnership contribute to advancing the digital transformation? How has COVID-19 impacted the future of education?

Professor Didier Jourdan, chair holder of the UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education will deliver an opening presentation about emerging evidence on safe school reopening.

Posted by Didier in News
Coronavirus: what we know about the risk of reopening schools – and how best to limit it

Coronavirus: what we know about the risk of reopening schools – and how best to limit it

Across the world, over 1.5 billion children and young people were deprived of school during the first phase of the pandemic. We know this has had a negative effect on learning. And research carried out in England has shown that children in deprived areas have fallen furthest behind.

We know too that physical attendance at school has health benefits. Time spent with friends during adolescence helps brain development. Compulsory physical activity can protect against future chronic illnesses. And many young people benefit from school-based services such as free lunches and sanitary products.

Young people clearly benefit from being in school. But as many countries reopen, do the benefits of sending our children back outweigh the risks, and if so, what are the conditions of a safe return?

In the article published today in The Conversation, Didier Jourdan, Nicola Gray and Michael Marmot review the available data on the risks of returning to school and argue that the best means of mitigating them are locally driven control measures, based on national guidance.

Read the article.

Posted by Didier in News