UNESCO and IEA Release New Findings on Educational Disruptions at REDS Launch Event

To commemorate the International Day of Education on 24 January, UNESCO and IEA hosted an online event to release the Responses to Educational Disruption Survey (REDS) results. With over 800 registrations, 400 attendees, and numerous high-level speakers, the launch event captured the interest of many who sought answers to the study’s critical and timely research questions: how did schools around the world deal with COVID-19 disruptions? How were teaching and learning affected by abrupt changes to schooling? After over a year of collaboration between IEA, UNESCO, and eleven participating countries, the findings and datasets from this unique study are now openly available for all to share and further analyze.

The event began with opening speeches by Dirk Hastedt, Executive Director of IEA, and Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, who both spoke about the importance of partnership throughout the process and publication of the REDS study. Ms. Giannini and Mr. Hastedt stated what sets REDS apart from the many rapid surveys collected at the national level during the pandemic. First, the REDS report tells a global story with comparative data from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Gulf, and Europe. Second, the study was conducted in a scientific and systematic manner. Third, the data is available open access, which allows anyone interested to dive into additional analysis.

Following the opening remarks, REDS Co-Project Manager Sebastian Meyer set the scene for the presentation of the study’s findings. He outlined the methodology, saying that the specific focus on eighth-grade students, teachers, and school leaders in eleven countries allowed for comparative analyses of pandemic challenges and responses. The data collected at both the school level and individual level through self-assessment revealed insights into the pandemic’s effect on their learning, teaching, and well-being.

REDS: Percentage of Teachers Teaching Their Class Remotely


Sabine Meinck, Co-Head of Research and Analysis at IEA shared a visual presentation of the key findings. The impact of the pandemic on the emotional well-being of learners and teachers was a central component of the study, and the results are significant. At least 50% of students reported a decline in their well-being, while at the same time, they felt supported by their schools. 50% of teachers felt supported by leadership and their networks despite concerns about catching COVID-19. In a panel discussion moderated by Joe O’Hara (President, European Educational Research Association), the discussion of well-being deepened with reflections from representatives Jacob Christensen from Denmark and Huong Le Thu from UNESCO. The panel continued with brief comments on the findings within the themes of preparedness for the future (Shaikha Ali Al Zaahbi, UAE and Clio Dintilhac, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), school closures and preparedness (Julian Fraillon, IEA), and academic progress (Abduvali Ismailov, Uzbekistan and Federico Biagi, Joint Research Center, European Commission). For a full list of speaker biographies, please see here


REDS: Panelists and Moderator


To follow the continuing analysis on education systems and how they operate throughout challenges, the event closed with an invitation from IEA and UNESCO to expand the scope of REDS in the future.

Interested in more? 

Posted: 04.02.2022