Most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. These nationwide closures are affecting over 90% of the world’s student population. Several other countries have implemented localized closures impacting millions of additional learners.
UNESCO is supporting countries in their efforts to mitigate the immediate impact of education institution closures, with the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) making a significant contribution. Facilitating the continuity of education for all through remote learning with a particular focus on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged is key during the current pandemic.
As coordinator of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, UIL is sharing expertise and enabling structured exchange through a webinar series among over 170 cities around the globe to ensure that learning does not stop during the COVID-19 pandemic for the millions of students living in urban areas. Through video interviews with UNESCO learning cities representatives, UIL features education strategies and practices responding to COVID-19. Moreover, the Institute provides support to countries by offering guidelines on how to implement lifelong learning during the pandemic.
Beyond the emergency response, it is equally necessary to reflect on the world that will emerge from the crisis and the role of lifelong learning in supporting social recovery and in shaping a sustainable future. UIL does so via its Blog by publishing expertise and opinion pieces on topics such as adult education and family learning.
To further inform thinking about the post-pandemic future, UIL has also issued a call for abstracts for a special issue of our journal, the International Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning, on ‘Education in the age of COVID-19’. The special issue will be published later this year.