When schools shut: gendered impacts of COVID-19 school closures

Case Studies & Research
102 p.

Nearly 1.6 billion learners around the globe were affected by the closures of learning institutions put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Beyond alarming effects on learning loss and school dropout, this unprecedented education disruption also threatens the progress made on gender equality, with gendered impacts on health, well-being and protection. When schools shut exposes these impacts, with the aim to ensure that effective strategies are put in place to ensure education continuity, promote gender equality and improve lives and futures. Through a review of published research, a global survey of actions taken by organizations in favour of gender equality in education, and in-depth data collection in five countries, UNESCO and its partners underline the challenges faced by children to continue learning, and to return to school where and when these safely reopen, and what governments and the international community are doing to mitigate harm and safeguard progress towards gender equality in and through education.A call to governments and their partners to put gender at the centre of education policies and programmes, When schools shut is a timely reminder that schools are essential sites not only for learning, but also lifelines when it comes to health, well-being and protection of all learners.