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G20 Education Ministers' Statement on COVID-19

Videoconference, June 27, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly affected communities around the world, leading to a global health crisis and high loss of human life. We, the Education Ministers of the G20 countries, are deeply saddened by the human tragedy it has caused.

We are working to address the widespread disruptions in education and training that have resulted from the spread of COVID-19, while recognizing that vulnerable groups and particular demographics, including women and young people, are disproportionately affected by them.

The measures implemented to contain the rapid spread of the virus have significantly altered education and many other facets of life. Prolonged closures of educational institutions have affected teachers, educators, students, and their families worldwide, including in developing and less developed countries, where education systems have faced additional challenges in coping with the pandemic.

To minimize the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, we commit to continuing to share best practices, experiences and lessons learned in order to support education and learning continuity, along with resilience, in times of crisis.

As a result of the pandemic, we have seen the development and advancement of a variety of distance learning, e-learning, and other digital education solutions within different country contexts. We strongly support public and private efforts to sustain education continuity for all by leveraging new pedagogical methods, as well as diverse modalities of and approaches to instruction. We recognize the benefits of both in- person (face-to-face) and distance learning, and the importance of strengthening blended learning approaches and related elements, ranging from sustainable infrastructure, accessibility, and funding, to digital skills, teacher training, student support, and assessment tools. We stress the need to address the digital divides and inequities that occur in learning opportunities.

We acknowledge the substantial efforts put forward by teachers, educators, leaders of educational institutions, students, and their families to support continued learning during the crisis. We also recognize the critical role of our higher education institutions in leading research that can deliver life-saving preventive measures and treatments for COVID-19.

To prepare more effectively for potential future disruptions, we commit to working towards stronger and more innovative approaches to build resilience into our education systems and improve teaching and learning. For this purpose, we support the development of educational content, technological and digital solutions and other means of facilitating education continuity, as appropriate in country contexts and with respect to data security and privacy. We acknowledge the role that educational institutions, the private sector and international organizations can play in supporting education continuity.

As proactive approaches should be taken in the short and long term, we commit to continuing discussions within the Education Working Group to expand our collective understanding of the effects that crises can have on education and of countries' respective preparations and responses. These ongoing efforts are crucial as quality education and investment in skills can increase the awareness and knowledge of societies and thus, contribute to greater resilience and more sustainable future outcomes.

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Source: Official website of the Saudi G20 Presidency

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