Transforming Education Summit: Halt the crisis, or risk failing an entire generation

© UNICEF/Vincent Tremeau: Girls study together at school in Senegal.

Transforming Education Summit, UN Children’s Fund UNICEF on Friday, warned that globally, only a third of 10-year-olds are estimated to be able to read and understand a simple written story. This shocking statistic represents a 50 per cent decrease from pre-pandemic estimates.


“Under resourced schools, underpaid and under-qualified teachers, over-crowded classrooms and archaic curricula are undermining our children’s ability to reach their full potential,” said Catherine Russell UNICEF Executive Director, in a press release.

 “The trajectory of our education systems is, by definition, the trajectory of our future”, she added. “We need to reverse current trendlines or face the consequences of failing to educate an entire generation. Low levels of learning today mean less opportunity tomorrow.” 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, prolonged school closures and a lack of access to quality learning exposed and exacerbated a pre-existing learning crisis, that has left millions of schoolchildren without foundational numeracy and literacy skills.

To draw attention to the education crisis and the need to transform learning worldwide, UNICEF has created the ‘Learning Crisis Classroom’, a model classroom that represents the scale of children failing to learn critical foundational skills.

The installation will be displayed at the visitor’s entrance of UN Headquarters in New York between 16 and 26 September. The model will serve as a reminder to government officials, heads of state and everyday visitors of the urgent need for mass global investment in education.

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