Guiding principles on the COVID-19 pandemic

published 27 March 2020 updated 30 August 2022

The following principles and recommendations should guide the responses of education unions, governments and partners to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow at an alarming rate, resulting in numerous infections and fatalities across the globe. The impact on education has been devastating, with UNESCO reporting that over 1.5 billion students had been affected due to school closures in 165 countries as of 25 March 2020; this is more than 87 percent of all registered students. Over 63 million teachers and large numbers of education support personnel have also been affected by the pandemic.

Given these unprecedented developments, the COVID-19 crisis has become an education crisis. Governments around the world need to develop swift, coherent and proportionate responses to the pandemic to bring it under control and minimise its impact on the health and livelihood of societies, as well as on children, young people and adults’ right to quality education. An appropriate response to COVID -19 in the education sector should take into account the rights and best interests of students, teachers and education support personnel and involve education unions in developing the containment and recovery measures.