By mid-April 2020, almost every country in the world had implemented nationwide closures of schools and other educational institutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting over 1.57 billion learners, representing over 90% of the world’s total enrolled student population. These actions, while essential to contain the spread of the disease and protecting public health, could precipitate a global learning crisis at all levels of the education system. During the crisis, the focus of the educational response has been on ensuring learning continuity through the mobilization of a range of no-, low-, and high-tech resources and modalities, to bring learning content from school settings into learners’ homes. What is sometimes overlooked is that at the heart of these responses are millions of teachers, principals, and other education personnel who are the frontline workers for the education sector during any crisis, and who have demonstrated high levels of commitment and creativity in the face of COVID-19. At least 63 million primary and secondary teachers alone have been affected by the pandemic to date. Further, disruption to regular learning has impacted students at teacher training institutions, threatening to exacerbate the existing global shortage of qualified teachers in the future. UNESCO therefore advocates for the protection and support of teachers, principals, and other education personnel, and for recognition of their efforts in the response to the current health crisis and beyond.
UNESCO COVID-19 Education Response. Education Sector issue notes. Issue note 2.2