In 2021 UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning will hold a series of webinars dedicated to the recent challenges that education systems all over the world faced in the 2020 due to pandemic. The first webinar “Teachers on the frontline: lessons from COVID-19” was held on February 16th.

Since the world remains to wrestle with pandemic COVID-19, teachers continue working on the frontline to act in response to education’s biggest disturbance. From the start of the pandemic, teachers mobilized for their students to allow learning to go on. Yet, little is still known on how the pandemic has affected the education workforce and what will be long-term implications. The questions that were discussed during the webinar included: will the pandemic exacerbate pre-existing challenges facing the teaching profession? What needs to change for the education workforce to be better prepared and supported during the crisis? Speakers from Nepal, India, Guyana shared their experience in overcoming pandemic challenges.

The READ Program paid a lot of attention to support of teachers. It offered different ways of building their capacity, opportunities for further training, stimulation of research activities, introduction of new assessment tools and methodologies. The READ Program also helped to build cooperation at national level between experts of national institutions working on problems of educational assessment and teachers. Under this cooperation teachers from Central Asia together with the READ experts participated in the IIEP webinar and were able to share their experience, teaching and assessment methods that they applied during 2020.

The productive discussion lasted beyond the webinar. Experts of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Armenia will be conducting qualitative cross-country research among teachers to identify the best teaching practices that were applied during the pandemic and their results. The research will include exploring different online and offline teaching practices that were implemented, new models of teaching, and different challenges confronted by teachers during this changeover time. The research is planned for the second half of 2021.