Learning Must Go On: Recommendations for keeping children safe and learning, during and after the COVID-19 crisis

This inter-agency briefing highlights some of the potential impacts of school closures on children, with a focus on the most marginalised, including those already living in crisis and conflict contexts. It provides recommendations for governments and donors, together with partners, to ensure that safe, quality and inclusive learning reaches all children and that education systems are strengthened ready for the return to school.

Governments and donors, in collaboration with national and international partners must urgently ensure safe, inclusive access to emergency distance learning, with psychosocial support and social emotional learning components during and after the COVID-19 crisis.  This can be done by supporting governments to plan and develop flexible national education systems, to give teachers and caregivers the right support to deliver distance learning and by maintaining and increasing international funding to countries most in need. Additional support will be required in contexts already affected by conflict and displacement and environmental emergencies to help ensure the most vulnerable children are not left further behind.

Key recommendations:

  • Continue learning: Even with schools closed, learning must continue. Governments, donors and partners must support schools and teachers to develop emergency distance learning materials and activities accessible to all children, particularly the most marginalised.  
  • Protect wellbeing: Mental health and psychosocial support should be fully integrated into educational responses.
  • Address needs of marginalized children and youth: School closures should not further exacerbate educational inequalities on the basis of gender, poverty, disability, ethnicity, religion, geographic location and more.
  • Support the specific needs of children and youth affected by conflict, humanitarian crises and forced displacement: Quality education can play a critical role in mitigating the harmful impact of conflict on children’s well-being and supporting their recovery.
  • Support teachers and parents: The response should consider the importance of protecting the wellbeing and economic security of teachers and parents. 
  • Strengthen education systems in preparation for school reopening: Government health authorities should decide when schools reopen and all educational authorities should adhere to the Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools.
  • Maintain and increase financing: Increased funding will be essential to support the continuation of learning for all children, including marginalised groups. 
Published 2020-04-14

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