Education must be part of stimulus packages and education budgets must be protected.
Paris, October 22, 2020 — An unprecedented global coalition of organizations called for urgent investment in education today to prevent a generational catastrophe. Launching a joint white paper at the Global Education Meeting hosted by UNESCO, the Save Our Future campaign – a movement of the biggest education multilaterals in partnership with over 600 civil society organizations, research organizations, foundations, media, youth, and influencers – put forward an evidence-based roadmap with concrete recommendations for governments to reimagine education systems post-COVID-19.
Ninety percent of students in all countries and continents – nearly 1.6 billion school children and youth – had their education disrupted at the height of pandemic lockdowns, marking the greatest disruption of education in history. With the catalytic impact education has across health, jobs, income growth, climate change, poverty reduction, and social justice, the next generation faces devastating consequences if this education emergency is not addressed.
Despite the dire and known social and economic impacts of this fast-growing education emergency, there is imminent risk that governments will deprioritize investments in education as they make short-term fiscal responses to the pandemic. This means that low- and lower-middle-income countries could face an annual financing gap of about $200 billion. If governments and development partners do not invest in education urgently, this crisis could turn into a catastrophe from which millions of children may never recover, particularly marginalized vulnerable children and adolescents, including refugees, girls, and children with disabilities.
The white paper— Save Our Future: Averting an Education Catastrophe for the World’s Children —recommends that governments and the international community commit to:
- Protecting education budgets and targeting budgets to those left furthest behind,
- Fully financing education as a key part of the COVID recovery,
- Improving coordination and use of evidence to ensure education funding achieves maximum impact.
In addition, governments should also:
- Prioritize safely reopening schools, resume delivering vital services such as health and nutrition to children, and protect the education workforce,
- Transform education – making it more inclusive, engaging, and adaptive so that it can act as the engine of sustainable development desperately needed,
- Strengthen the education workforce so that teachers and other professionals are equipped to enable learning and well-being for all children,
- Focus education technology where it is proven to be effective and most equitable and avoid the risk that technology continues to exacerbate inequality.
This is a defining moment for the world’s children and young people. The opportunity to reimagine and reboot education must be seized in bold ways, developing a new vision for children in the decade ahead. This cannot wait.
TWEET ME: Investment in #education as part of #COVID19 recovery will avert a generational catastrophe. This and more in new @SaveFutureNow paper: http://bit.ly/SOFWhitePaper
About the Save Our Future Campaign
Save Our Future is a global movement of diverse voices uniting to amplify the voices of children and young people as they deliver a simple, yet powerful message amidst the COVID-19 crisis: Save Our Future. The campaign seeks to ensure that: all children and youth to continue to learn during lockdowns through inclusive distance learning; every child and youth is supported to return to school when it’s safe to do so; and governments and donors invest in education now so we can build better, more inclusive, and resilient education systems for the future.
Save Our Future is led by a core hub of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, the Asian Development Bank, BRAC, Education Above All, Education Cannot Wait, the Education Commission, the Education Outcomes Fund, the Global Partnership for Education, Save the Children, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the World Food Programme in partnership with over 600 organizations and youth.