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.

A collection of black and white photos of people on a wall.

This year’s International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (27 Jan) focuses on the measures taken in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust to begin the recovery and reconstitution of individuals, community, and systems of justice. Against a global context of rising antisemitism and increasing levels of disinformation and hate speech, Holocaust education and remembrance is even more urgent, as is the development of an historical literacy to counter repeated attempts to deny and distort the history of the Holocaust. 

Mother and daughter sit closely reading a book.

The International Day of Education (24 Jan) occurs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to a global learning disruption of unprecedented scale and severity. The closure of schools, universities and other literacy and lifelong learning programmes has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries. As a new year begins, now is the time to step up collaboration and international solidarity to place education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery and the transformation towards more inclusive, safe and sustainable societies.

Woman sitting down on the floor pointing at a poster with letters is surrounded by young children.

International Mother Language Day - hero