The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student voice (UNESCO/ Council of Europe Commissioned report)

Bryony Hoskins, Dr Steven Donbavand

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

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Prioritizing student voice:
An imperative post COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided major disruptions in the education of young people. This study by UNESCO and the Council of Europe assesses the effect of school closures on opportunities for student voice in Europe, Middle East and North Africa, as well as explores the implications for democracy and inequalities in political engagement. The vast majority of young people, lost out on opportunities to have their voice heard and to learn the competences to assert their rights as a result of the pandemic. Student decision-making regarding school life was deeply impacted, with about one-third of teachers saying that students were never given the opportunity to participate in decision-making during lockdown. While school closures reduced the physical spaces for freedom of expression and civic participation, the study provides insights into how student creativity thrived online during that time. This study provides a reflection on the overall loss in opportunities and learning on student voice during the pandemic, as well as recommendations for school directors
and personnel, teachers, educators, policymakers and young people on how to address this loss. It highlights the importance of prioritizing student voice, especially for students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to counter inequalities and promote healthier democracies.

© 2021, UNESCO and the Council of Europe 2021. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyUNESCO/ Council of Europe Commissioned report:
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)978-92-3-100471-1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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