2 June 2020

The impact of the covid-19 pandemic on education has been huge. Unesco estimates that the pandemic has affected nearly 90% of the world's students. That's 1.54 billion learners out of school in 185 countries. But despite the challenges governments face in managing this crisis, human rights law is clear that these learners retain their right to education, and governments are still obliged to ensure the right to education, as well as respect for all other human rights.

Below we have collected important resources on ensuring the right to education during the covid-19 crisis. 


Research & papers


The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, and the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (June 2022) :‘What will happen to our children?’: The Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on Child Protection and Education Inequalities in Three Humanitarian Contexts


Human Rights Watch (17 May 2021): “Years Don’t Wait for Them”: Increased Inequalities in Children’s Right to Education Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

The report has been launched alongside a range of additional materials, including:

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (June 2020): Right to education: impact of the coronavirus disease crisis on the right to education – concerns, challenges and opportunities

Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (15 March 2020): No Education, No Protection: What school closures under COVID-19 mean for children and young people in crisis-affected contexts


Policy & planning

UN (August 2020): Policy brief: Education during COVID-19 and beyond

INEE (16 July 2020): Weighing up the risks: School closure and reopening under COVID-19

Save the Children (13 July 2020): Save our education

Human Rights Watch (27 March 2020): As Schools Close Over Coronavirus, Protect Kids’ Privacy in Online Learning

OECD (23 March 2020): How can teachers and school systems respond to the COVID-19 pandemic? Some lessons from TALIS

UNESCO: (23 March 2020) UNESCO’s response to the coronavirus crisis offers multilateral solutions

Human Rights Watch (19 March 2020): Human Rights Dimensions of COVID-19 Response

UNICEF (March 2020): Key Messages and Actions for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools



European Committee on Social Rights (24 March 2021): Statement on COVID-19 and social rights

UNESCO (30 July 2020): COVID-19 education response: how many students are at risk of not returning to school? Advocacy pape

ESCR-Net (June 2020): Global call to action in response to covid-19

Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Save the Children United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) (9 April 2020): Learning Must Go On: COVID-19 Advocacy Brief

OHCHR (9 April 2020): “Leave no one behind” – Don’t forget your commitments in your response to the COVID-19 crises, UN expert urges States

International Commission on the Futures of Education: Protecting and Transforming Education for Shared Futures and Common Humanity (4 April 2020): A Joint Statement on the COVID-19 Crisis 

Education International (27 March 2020): Guiding principles on the COVID-19 pandemic

OHCHR (24 March 2020): UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies call for human rights approach in fighting COVID-19

ESCR-Net (20 March 2020): Human Rights must be prioritized in responding to COVID-19

OHCHR (16 March 2020): States should not abuse emergency measures to suppress human rights – UN experts


Resource hubs 


Planipolis: Portal of education plans and policies related to COVID-19

NORRAG: COVID-19 Education Disruption and the Response by the Global Education Community


Data and trackers

Unesco: COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response

Center for Global Development: COVID-19 education policy tracking

International Accountability Project: Early warning system: Project level COVID-19 responses by development banks

European Training Foundation: EU neighbours:Coping with COVID-19 in education and training



HRW (9 September 2020): Protecting Education from Attack During Covid-19

Plan and Unesco (31 March 2020): COVID-19 forces school closures in 185 countries

Human Rights Watch (27 March 2020): As Schools Close Over Coronavirus, Protect Kids’ Privacy in Online Learning

GEM Report (25 March 2020): Three ways to plan for equity during the coronavirus school closures

GEM Report (24 March 2020): How are countries addressing the Covid-19 challenges in education? A snapshot of policy measures

Elin Martinez (19 March 2020): Pandemic shakes up world education



INEE (30 April 2020): Advocating for EiE during COVID-19

INEE (7 April 2020): Webinar on distance learning during covid-19: continuing education in low resource and low tech environments



Human Rights Watch (26 May 2021): Uganda: Covid-19 Pandemic Fueling Child Labor

Thomson Reuters Foundation (26 May 2021): COVID-19 pushes Congo's children out of school and into domestic work

Aoife Nolan (May 2020): Should Schools Reopen? The Human Rights Risk: An Advisory Note for the Independent SAGE (UK)

UNESCO-IIEP: 2020 Planning and managing education in the context of Covid-19 - Country profiles

OECD: How have countries dealt with coronavirus school closures and what’s next for education? (Podcast)

Adalah (6 April 2020): Adalah and partners petition Israeli Supreme Court: Connect Bedouin students in Naqab to distance-learning system

UNESCO GEMR (2 April 2020): Covid-19: How is Italy coping with school closure? 

Human Rights Watch (19 March 2020): UK School Closures Could Leave Children Hungry



Naomi Klein (13 May 2020): How big tech plans to profit from the pandemic

Ben Williamson (1 April 2020): New edtech power networks


Last updated 16 Nov 2021