In a video message to the 2020 Global Education Meeting (GEM), Guterres reminded delegates that the pandemic had had a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable and marginalized children and youth.
To successfully avert the crisis, Guterres upheld the importance of recognizing education as a common global good, with teachers, safe schools, digital technologies and those at greatest risk, in need of far greater investment.
"The progress we have made, especially for girls and young women, is under threat", he said.
"We now need to support the learning recovery in low and middle income countries – and to factor education into every stimulus package," he added.
Co-hosted by the Governments of Ghana, Norway and the United Kingdom (UK), UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) convened an extraordinary session of the Global Education Meeting (2020 GEM) on Thursday.
The 2020 GEM provided a unique platform for exchange among high-level political leaders, policy makers and global education actors to protect and rethink education in the current and post-covid-19 world and agree on global priority actions for educational recovery and progress in the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development.
The covid-19 pandemic has created the most severe disruption to global education systems in history, forcing more than 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries out of school at the peak of the crisis. It threatens the future of a generation with 24 million children and youth at risk of dropping out.
This pandemic has brought to light already-existing challenges to education that have not adequately addressed for far too long. It has highlighted alarming inequalities within and across countries that must be tackled urgently in order to guarantee everyone’s fundamental right to quality education.