Save our education

Children smiling in small boat

“I’m so sad that I will miss school”

Like millions of children around the world, 13-year-old Hawo* from Somalia’s school is closed.


This is not the first time Hawo’s education has been interrupted.

In 2017, Hawo’s* family lost everything as drought swept across their region.

But the covid-19 pandemic has turned her life upside down once again.


“I don’t know when we will be able to go back, so that I can continue my education and meet my friends. I don’t want to miss learning. This really worries me.”

This is an education emergency

In early April, over


learners were out of school

For the first time in human history an


has their education disrupted

Even before coronavirus


children were out of school

Child with backpack

The poorest and most marginalised children are being hit hardest.

9.7 million may never return to school.

Children in low-income and fragile countries don’t always have access to the internet or devices to access distance learning.

Camel library

UNESCO estimate that at least 500 million children and youth are not learning from home.

Our camel library is keeping children reading during the pandemic.

Funding the global education emergency

New analysis from our report exposes the potentially huge gap in education funding due to COVID-19 and the countries most at risk of falling behind.

We know from previous crises that the longer children are out of school, the greater the risk that they do not return.

New analysis conducted by Save the Children examined which countries might be most at risk of an increase in school dropouts.

Our analysis identified 12 countries at extreme risk - Afghanistan, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal and Yemen.

This comes at a time when education budgets are under pressure as governments shift spending towards the health and economic response to the pandemic.

Child studying with radio

Investing in education matters if we are to recover from this crisis.

When children miss out on education, they can feel the impacts for the rest of their lives.

Initial forecasts suggest children now out of school could lose out on $10 trillion in lost earnings.

Our research reveals that the economic consequences of the pandemic could lead to an education financing gap in low- and middle-income countries of $77 billion over the next 18 months.

For the sake of economic stability, governments and donors must invest in education now so we can recover from the pandemic and put us back on track to fulfil children’s rights and meet our promises in Sustainable Development Goal 4.

The change we want to see for children


Keep learning alive

The rapid spread of coronavirus has forced the world’s schools to shut their doors to over a billion children.

For the first time in human history, an entire generation has had their education disrupted. A child’s right to a quality, safe and inclusive education does not end if schools are closed.


“When I hear the word corona I feel bad because it has made me miss school and miss my friends. I have been trying to read my books at home after I do digging and washing plates. I can’t wait to hear that schools are open again.”

Stephen*, 15, lives in Kyangwali refugee settlement, Uganda.
Lebanon flag

Country Profile:


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, school systems across Lebanon were already weak, with an out-of-school rate for primary education at 11 per cent, and a 52 per cent transition rate into secondary school. Read more.


Prepare for the safe return to school

After months stuck at home, many children around the world are heading back to class.

But governments must ensure that every child is supported to return to school when it’s safe to do so – especially vulnerable and marginalised children – so they can return to learning, a sense of normality and they are protected from violence and abuse.

Nassir reading a book

“It is very difficult for us to get enough water and soap to wash our hands and protect ourselves from the virus. I worry the virus could spread here in our village and hurt many people I know.”

Nassir*, 12, lives in the Somali region in Ethiopia.
Bangladesh flag

Country Profile:


The Government of Bangladesh has taken several measures to limit the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. There has been a nationwide lockdown since late March with all educational facilities closed in mid-March. Read more.


Building back for better learning

All over the world, coronavirus has turned children’s lives upside down.

But lessons can be learnt from this crisis and if the right investments are made and policies put in place, we could accelerate progress - particularly for the most marginalised children - as the world begins to reopen its schools.

There’s still a lot to learn, and more research is required. But we suggest exploring the areas below.

Read our recommendations


“The coronavirus has changed my life because I can’t see my friends, I can’t go to school. I would say to boys and girls who are sad or worried: don’t worry, everything is going to be okay and this is going to pass.”

How we can protect a generation's education

The world needs to come together and protect education during this crisis. Education is at the very heart of the global recovery effort.

The international community must act on the following five areas to support low-and middle-income national governments to overcome this crisis and build back better towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 in 2030.



This global education emergency requires a coordinated global education action plan that is well-planned, inclusive, gender-responsive, monitored and held accountable.



We call on governments and donors to protect the learning and wellbeing of a generation of children by committing $35 billion in funding, mobilised through the World Bank and other multilateral development banks via a supplementary International Development Association budget.

Read our recommendations



This global education emergency requires a coordinated global education action plan that is well-planned, inclusive, gender-responsive, monitored and held accountable.

Read our recommendations



Children must be kept safe whilst out of school and when they return.

Read our recommendations



The education community should urgently meet to coordinate action and lead on tracking progress on the three priority areas outlined in this report.

Read more detailed recommendations in the full report

Download our report

We must act now

We can’t sit back and watch as coronavirus robs millions more children of the future they deserve.

Child in classroom

Together, we can make sure children everywhere get a quality education, so they can achieve their hopes and dreams.

Each and every one of us has a part to play.

Save our Education

*names changed to protect identity