UNESCO to convene special session of global education meeting in Oct to discuss education post COVID-19

The UNESCO will convene an extraordinary session of Global Education Meeting (GEM) in October for exchange among high-level political leaders, policy makers and global education experts to protect and rethink education in the current and post-COVID-19 world.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s session on October 22 is convened with an aim to protect and promote education at a time when education financing is at considerable risk of being left behind in the governments’ domestic budgets, stimulus packages and international aid, the UN agency said.

“By convening this extraordinary session of the GEM next month, our aim is to secure commitments from political leaders to position education at the centre of national and international efforts to recover swiftly, inclusively and sustainably from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director of Education at UNESCO.

Giannini said the overarching concern is to at least maintain, if not increase, education financing to avoid a “generational catastrophe”. “To be fit for purpose and respond to a radically new reality, we need a more integrated, influential and accountable coordination system for education, entirely geared to building back better through stronger links between policy steering and finance.”

According to UNESCO estimates, over 154 crore students are severely impacted by the closure of educational institutions across the world amid the COVID-19 outbreak. UN agencies UNESCO and UNICEF along with World Bank and the World Food Programme had recently come up with guidelines on how to safely reopen schools in the wake of COVID-19 and also warned that widespread closures of educational facilities present an unprecedented risk to children’s education and wellbeing.

Globally, over 3.2 crore people have been infected with COVID-19, and the total number of deaths from the deadly virus now stands at over 9.82 lakh.

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