As countries begin to administer COVID-19 vaccines, UNESCO and Education International, the global federation of education unions, are calling on governments and the international community to consider teachers and school personnel as a priority group in vaccination efforts.
UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay and Education International’s General Secretary, David Edwards in the joint video message said, “reopening schools and education institutions safely and keeping them open as long as possible is an imperative.
“In this context, as we see positive developments regarding vaccination, we believe that teachers and education support personnel must be considered as a priority group.”
The message, released on the 60th anniversary of the Convention that promotes the right to education, praises teachers for their dedication throughout the period of school closures. “When schools and education institutions closed, teachers and support personnel remained on the frontline. They reinvented the way we teach, the way we learn. They supported their students – too often with no training or adequate tools.”
The Global Education Meeting convened by UNESCO in October 2020, heads of state and ministers committed to support all teachers and education personnel as frontline workers and to prioritize the health and safety of students and educators.
Over 100 million teachers and school personnel were impacted by educational disruptions due to the COVID-19 crisis around the world. UNESCO’s latest data indicates that schools remain fully closed in 27 countries affecting over 300 million learners. Closures have a negative impact on students’ learning, safety and well-being, affecting the most vulnerable students the hardest. It also brings adverse social and economic consequences on societies.