An estimated 1.5 billion children worldwide have had their learning disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This global emergency is far more than a public health crisis: it has stalled educational progress in every nation, with economic consequences that could last for a generation.

Throughout the pandemic, which saw lockdowns in most countries, Open Education Resources have been critical for keeping students in touch with their learning. This goes right to the heart of what we believe in: a fair, free and open future.

By opening up education resources to children who can’t attend school, we are supporting their future and everyone’s future. I am proud to have signed the Open Covid Pledge for Research in Education on behalf of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Signatories pledge to ‘make intellectual property openly and freely available to the world to support educators, students and decision-makers, to help educational organisations survive and thrive, and to build a fairer and more resilient education system’.

For the sake of this year’s generation of children, who have faced setbacks like never before, we must ensure that we use every tool at our disposal to support them. We want to see a future where people and organisations share what they know, to support the world-wide educational response. 

Earlier this month, the UN Secretary-General said prolonged school closures could further entrench inequalities in access to learning, and education is the ‘key to personal development and the future of societies’. The UN and UNESCO goals can only be achieved by sharing knowledge and understanding.

We encourage others to join us in signing the Open Covid Pledge and in doing so pledge to work together to support the future of every child.

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Jo Barratt was Delivery Manager and Deputy CEO at Open Knowledge Foundation