WHAT’S NEXT? Lessons on Education Recovery: Findings from a Survey of Ministries of Education amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

This report presents findings from the Survey of National Education Responses to COVID- 19, jointly conducted by UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank and OECD, and administered by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics and OECD. Three rounds of questionnaires have thus far been administered.1 This report focuses on responses to the survey’s more recent third round.2 All numbers presented and discussed in this report refer to the share of countries that responded to each relevant question in the survey. The number of countries that provided valid responses to the question are noted in each figure. Where relevant, countries that responded with ‘Don’t know’ or ‘Not applicable’, or countries with no response to any of the options or for a level of education, are excluded from the analysis. Caution is advised in generalizing the results represented in some figures as the countries that responded to this question cover less than 50 per cent of the total four- to 17-year-old population. These instances are noted under the respective figures. Detailed information on the country and student coverage of each figure, including by income group, is available in Annexes 1-3. In each country, the survey questionnaire was completed by the Ministry of Education officials responsible for education planning at the central or decentralized levels. The survey instrument was designed to capture de jure policy responses and perceptions from government officials on their effectiveness, providing a systematic understanding of deployed policies, practices and intentions to date.

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Right from the start: build inclusive societies through inclusive early childhood education


Early childhood education has the potential to expand opportunities for disadvantaged children, provided that programmes use inclusion as a guiding principle. While the international community has committed to inclusive education, countries vary in their efforts to extend this goal to early childhood. Universal access is the basis of inclusion, and countries must address barriers related to socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, language, disability and remoteness. Cooperation among multiple actors to identify special needs early and provide integrated services is needed, as are inclusive curricula that support children’s socioemotional development and identity formation. Finally, educators must be given the knowledge, training, and support to implement inclusive practices and work with families from all backgrounds.

Available languages: English, Spanish, French 

Background paper: English

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Press release: English

Powerpoint: English

Webinar: English

Don’t Look Away: No place for exclusion of LGBTI students

In working towards creating inclusive education systems, many countries have failed to address discrimination and exclusion on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and variations of sex characteristics. This is despite the fact that, as new data from Europe show, 54% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex youth surveyed had experienced bullying in school and 83% had witnessed some type of negative remarks addressed to someone else based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or variations of sex characteristics. In many other parts of the world, conditions do not even allow such data to be collected. While several countries have begun implementing changes in laws and policies, school-level interventions, curricula, and parental or community engagement, others not only avoid addressing the issues but are even taking measures that further exclude. Governments aspiring to respect their commitment to the goal of equitable and inclusive education by 2030 must protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex learners, improve monitoring of school-based bullying and violence, and create a positive, supportive learning environment.

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Press: English / Español

Social media: English / Español

Education Finance Watch 2021

To achieve national and international education goals, many countries will need to invest more in their education systems. During the last decade, government education spending has increased steadily, but the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted public finances dramatically, and the prospects for maintaining these increases have deteriorated. But the education finance challenge is not only about mobilizing resources but also about improving the effectiveness of funding. Unfortunately, recent increases in public education spending have been associated with relatively small improvements in education outcomes.

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Technical note: English / Appendix A / Appendix B

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How committed? Unlocking financing for equity in education


It is difficult to agree how much countries should spend on education. The Education 2030 Framework for Action appealed to countries to spend at least 4% of their gross domestic product on education. Some people question even such a modest target because country contexts vary significantly. Different countries appear to achieve the same education results with very different levels of public expenditure. However, there is consensus that, if countries are to achieve the goal of ‘inclusive and equitable’ education by 2030, they need to spend their budgets, whatever their level, in ways that actively pursue these inclusion and equity objectives. This paper discusses four categories of financing policies that can support such equity objectives depending on how comprehensive they are, how targeted their coverage is and how much money they allocate. Mapping policies and programmes from 78 countries around the world shows that around 1 in 5 demonstrate a strong level of commitment to equity in education through these different mechanisms.

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Social media: English

Webinar (2021 Global Education Summit side-event): English / Español / Françaisالعربية / नेपाली

Non-state actors in education

Non-state actors’ role extends beyond provision of schooling to interventions at various education levels and influence spheres. Alongside its review of progress towards SDG 4, including emerging evidence on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, the 2021/2 Global Education Monitoring Report urges governments to see all institutions, students and teachers as part of a single system. Standards, information, incentives and accountability should help governments protect, respect and fulfil the right to education of all, without turning their eyes away from privilege or exploitation.