UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO and World Bank launch school re-opening webinars

School re-opening webinars

28 October 2020
Урок казахского языка во втором классе, село Батпак, Карагандинская область.
Урок казахского языка во втором классе, село Батпак, Карагандинская область.

28 October 2020, Nur-Sultan – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), jointly with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Bank,  and local partners launched a series of webinars to promote and safeguard every child’s right to education and health and safety in the context of school closures and re-opening.

The webinars aim to enable education sector specialists to implement school-related public health measures in the context of COVID-19, get ready to mitigate learning loss and organize a child-centered and inclusive digital and blended learning. The series of webinars will be conducted during the fourth quarter of 2020 with one webinar per month. Every month education and health departments, school management and teachers will be able to join discussion focused on the below themes:

1.      Safe and consistent school reopening 

2.      Building back better and resilient school systems

3.      Ensuring inclusion in a blended learning context

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected the education systems around the world. Many countries closed schools along with other widespread restrictions as an immediate response to the increased spread of COVD-19. School closures have had increasingly clear negative impacts on child health, education and development, family income and the overall economy.

For the first term of the 2020-2021 school year, Kazakhstan applied a blended approach resuming offline leaning for primary schools. UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank advocate for a risk-based approach, which guides the decision on whether to close or re-open schools by taking into consideration several important factors such as: epidemiology of COVID-19 at the local level, capacity of educational institutions to plan and adapt their system to operate safely and minimize transmission, impact of school closures on educational loss, equity, general health and wellbeing of children, and range of other public health measures being implemented outside school.

“School closures have disrupted children’s learning journey around the world, with immediate as well as long-term consequences. In the absence of universally accessible remote learning of adequate quality, inequities in education have deepened. It is now critically important to resume a quality learning experience for all children and to compensate for learning losses. Where it is safe to do so, schools should reopen. At the same time, investments are needed urgently to reimagine the delivery of education, building a learner-centered, inclusive education system that offers multiple learning pathways and is resilient to public health and other shocks.” said Arthur van Diesen, UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan,” said Arthur van Diesen, UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan.

“School reopening is now one of the key questions for quality education in many countries around the world, including Kazakhstan. For many, it is still unclear how to go about it with the new waves of the pandemic anticipated or an increased number of cases already appearing. But for many children around the world, learner-centred blended learning opportunities are the only guarantee for quality education. We hope that these webinars will help the stakeholders explore the key considerations and lessons learnt globally to take informed decisions in this regard,” said Krista Pikkat, UNESCO Representative to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Inclusive education accessible to all children with any needs should be at the heart of education system planning. More than a dozen of online learning platforms has been created in Kazakhstan for online learning, but the learning material is yet to be adapted for children with disabilities and special learning needs. There is an urgent need to curate rather than create the digital learning content and adapt it to specific needs of individual learners.

During the webinars the organisers will present a child-centered blended learning concept and existing solutions to adapt learning platforms and devices to meet the needs of children.

As a result of school closures, the world could lose as much as 16% of investments by governments in basic education. Without remedial actions, we would face a substantial setback to the goal of halving the percentage of learning poor by 2030. Thus, it is critical to assume a mindset of “living with the virus”, adjust policies to the changing circumstances, and continue improving the quality of remote learning as part of the toolbox for a gradual schools reopening”, said Susanna Hayrapetyan, World Bank Program Leader for Human Development for Central Asia.

“Children continue to be negatively impacted by school closures, both in terms of their education, their mental health and their social development. Children deserve to be cared for and require particular attention during times when a disease outbreak unsettles their lives. Let us explore options to allow them to access knowledge in the most appropriate settings,” said Dr Omar Saleh, Senior Medical Advisor, WHO CO in Kazakhstan.


Notes for the editors:

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child; in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/kazakhstan/en. Follow UNICEF Kazakhstan on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture. UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. For more information about UNESCO and its work in Central Asia, visit http://www.unesco.kz. Follow UNESCO Almaty on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.   

WHO Country Office is the focal point for WHO activities in Kazakhstan. The priorities for the Country Office are set out in the biennial collaborative agreement between WHO/Europe and the host country. The Office implements the agreement in close collaboration with national institutions and international partner agencies. For more information about WHO CO in Kazakhstan, visit https://www.euro.who.int/en/countries/kazakhstan/who-country-office. Follow WHO CO Kazakhstan on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

The World Bank Group is the largest financier of education in the developing world. We work on education programs in more than 80 countries and are committed to helping countries reach SDG4, which calls for access to quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030. The World Bank Education global practice provides countries with information and resources from around the world on the education response to the COVID-19 crisis. For more information about the World Bank in Kazakhstan, visit www.worldbank.org/kz. and our Facebook.


For more information, please contact:

Elvira Yausheva

Communication Specialist

UNICEF Kazakhstan

Tel: +7 707 109 8553

Email: eyausheva@unicef.org

Assel Saduova

Communication Associate

UNICEF Kazakhstan

Tel: +7 (7172) 32-28-78 (144)

Email: asaduova@unicef.org

Media contacts

Elvira Yausheva
Communication Specialist
Tel: +7 707 109 8553


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