A girl sits in front of a sewing machine with garments hanging above her.

Iman comes from a family of 11 in the village of Bani Quis in the north-western Yemeni governorate of Hajjah. Iman dropped out of school at an early age because she lacked the means to reach her school some six kilometres away from her village. Now 18 and only semi-literate, she wishes she had had the chance to learn at school. Having decided to pursue other learning options to obtain practical vocational skills, Iman joined an apprenticeship implemented by an ILO partnership. In addition to theoretical instruction, Iman gained sewing skills from the practical training.

Educators and the changing world of education and work

The future of work will depend on effective learning and quality education for all. Employers and workers will need to learn new skills to unlock the opportunities of new technology and to confront the challenges of globalization and climate change. Governments, employers, and workers in the education sector will meet at the ILO to discuss future challenges and opportunities.

A line of girls in uniform wait for food rations.

Girls in South Sudan are more likely than boys to be excluded from education. In some parts of the country, it is estimated that over 75 percent of primary-school-aged girls are not in school. Conflict, poverty, early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and cultural and religious views are among factors driving educational inequality that hinders the prospects of girls. The WFP’s school feeding programme provides daily hot meals to 500,000 children in 1,100 schools across South Sudan, an essential safeguard contributing to increased enrolment.

A boy stands next to a girl in a classroom holding up note cards

To address the lasting effects of conflict and economic stressors, UNRWA provides support to students to continue going to school – like Karam – through its ‘Back to School’ project.

students leaving school through emergency exit

Fatima Katash is an 8th grade student at the UNRWA Jalazone Basic Girls’ School. Jalazone camp is adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Beit El. Because the settlement and camp are so close, Israeli security patrols and a military presence often lead to clashes with Palestine refugees. During incidents, the UNRWA protection team directly interacts with the Israeli military to advocate for the protection of the children and to de-escalate the situation. The team also helps coordinate the evacuation of students and staff, in the event of clashes.

children with backpacks seen from behind running

UNESCO’s Futures of Education initiative aims to reimagine how knowledge and learning can shape the future of humanity and the planet.

Installation at UN Headquarters in New York with 168 empty desks with UNICEF backpacks.

Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost an entire year due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Furthermore, around 214 million children globally – or 1 in 7 – have missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning. A UNICEF report notes that 14 countries worldwide have remained largely closed. Two-thirds of those countries are in Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting nearly 98 million schoolchildren. UNICEF unveils ‘Pandemic Classroom’, calling to prioritise the reopening of schools.

A girl looks out a window with bars from inside the classroom.

Education for children and youth affected by conflicts

Education for children and youth affected by conflicts

smiling girl holding books

Spurred by the pandemic, inequality between students threatens to grow deeper and wider in 2021. The lack of technology at home and limited connection to the internet, together with economic instability, puts girls, rural students and socio-economically disadvantaged children at risk of being left behind. Thanks to school meals and remote learning resources, students like Fatema can continue to learn and grow at home while schools remain closed in Bangladesh. “I have been studying on my own at home [during the pandemic] and my sister helps me with my studies,” says Fatema. “I like studying on my own because nobody disturbs me, but I will feel very good when the schools reopen.” 

Map of the world colour-coded by level of school closures.

UNESCO supports countries mitigate the immediate impact of school closures on hundreds of millions of students to facilitate the continuity of education for all through remote learning.