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A knowledge resource selected by UNICEF for humanitarian practitioners everywhere

Building back equal: Girls back to school guide

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the largest disruption to education in history. At the peak of the pandemic in April 2020, the nationwide closures impacted more than 1.5 billion students, or over 90 per cent of the world’s student population, from pre-primary to higher education in 200 countries.

This unprecedented disruption to education has the potential to roll back substantial gains made on girls’ education in recent decades, with broader immediate and longer-term effects on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to poverty reduction, health and well-being, inclusive quality education and gender equality.

The guide, developed by the Malala Fund, Plan International, UNESCO, UNGEI and UNICEF, aims to help policymakers and practitioners in ministries of education and their partners address the gender dimensions of the pandemic-related school closures. It provides targeted recommendations to ensure continuity of learning while schools are closed, and to establish comprehensive, timely and evidence-based plans for reopening schools in a way that is safe, gender-responsive and child-friendly.


The Malala Fund, Plan International, UNESCO, UNGEI and UNICEF

Area of Work



Guidance / Manual



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