Education on hold

A generation of children in Latin America and the Caribbean are missing out on schooling because of COVID-19

Education on hold Hero publication
UNICEF LACRO/2020/Schverdfinger


Over 11 million cases of coronavirus have been reported in Latin America and the Caribbean.[1] More than seven months after the first case hit Brazil, COVID-19 has deprived 97 per cent of the region’s students of their normal schooling.[2] Across the region, the prolonged closure of schools means that 137 million boys and girls continue to miss out on their education.[3] For each individual child, this loss has damaging implications for his or her future. With each passing day of schools being closed, a generational catastrophe is unfolding, one that will lead to profound consequences for society as a whole.

While countries are at different stages in terms of their epidemiological situation and schooling response to the pandemic, it is imperative for governments to prepare now for the safe and gradual reopening of schools in order to protect the learning and well-being of all children and adolescents.

UNICEF data show that in a region long characterized by high levels of inequality, COVID-19 has exacerbated deep inequities in the availability of education.

Although much is at stake, there is also a significant opportunity. By protecting and boosting investments in public education, governments can “build back better,” laying the foundation for education systems that offer children not only improved learning but a safer, more resilient environment than existed before the pandemic.

[1] Dong, Ensheng, Hongru Du, Lauren Gardner, ‘An interactive web-based dashboard to track COVID-19 in real time’, The Lancet Infectious Disease, vol. 20, no. 5, págs. 533-534, <>, consultado el 15 de octubre de 2020.
[2] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Institute of Statistics, ‘The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), UNESCO, París, 2020, <>, consultado el 8 de octubre de 2020.
[3] United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘LACRO COVID-19 Education response Schools reopening – Update 17’, UNICEF, Ciudad de Panamá, 2020, <>, consultado el 8 de octubre de 2020.

Cover Education on hold
Publication date
Spanish, English
978-92-806-5184-3, 978-92-806-5183-6

Files available for download