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The Worldwide Commission to Educate All Kids (Post-Pandemic) from the Institute for 21st Century Questions (21CQ)

Editors' Blog

The Worldwide Commission to Educate All Kids (Post-Pandemic) from the Institute for 21st Century Questions (21CQ)

Context and Problem: 

The Covid-19 pandemic has “ousted” hundreds of millions of children from formal schooling around the world. These children – elementary and secondary levels alike – are today neither in physical nor in virtual schooling. They are, in educational terms, nowhere, and are going nowhere fast.

This is arguably the most underappreciated, time-urgent catastrophe of the entire pandemic period. If these children (elementary and secondary levels alike) are not found and reintegrated into schooling with the greatest possible speed, they simply cannot succeed. In many cases, they will not have the skills and tools to survive in the post-pandemic world – a poorer, harsher world for the foreseeable future. Entire societies and countries will be destabilized because of massive underclasses, and millions of young people will have hugely diminished life expectancy and prospects.

In Canada alone, where this commission starts, on 21CQ’s calculations and research, the number of “ousted” students – once again, elementary- and secondary school-level children neither in physical nor in virtual schooling – may well be upwards of 200,000. Where are these kids? Who is looking for them? How will they be reintegrated into schooling in order that they be prepared to survive and succeed in a far more difficult post-pandemic world?

21CQ, driven by a deep sense of the duty incumbent on thinking adults, has brought together leaders in education, politics, policy, business, culture, sport and communities from around the world to address this moral and strategic catastrophe. 

Goals of the Commission:

  1. To bring acute awareness to fact and consequences of hundreds of millions of children, in scores of countries around the world, having been ousted from any form of schooling due to the Covid-19 pandemic (and other destabilizing events nationally and internationally)
  2. To encourage competent national, regional and local authorities, as well as school boards and commissions, to comprehensively survey and audit all cases of children ousted from school.
  3. To urge all national, regional and local authorities to develop and implement strategies to reintegrate these ousted children into formal schooling with the greatest possible speed.


  1. All children must be schooled to survive and succeed in the post-pandemic world
  2. Strict non-interference – The Commission does not interfere in national, regional or local matters at all; we only bring awareness and provide framing support and advice
    • In Canada, for instance, the Commission fully respects provincial constitutional responsibility for education.
  3. The Commission is agnostic on the “content” of education – we are interested in the “fact” of education (as opposed to non-education), with general encouragement of “quality” and even “excellence” as key for kids’ survival and success in the post-pandemic world.

Commission Chair: Dr. Irvin Studin, President, Institute for 21st Century Questions 


Lloyd Axworthy (former Minister of Foreign Affairs)

Pierre Pettigrew (former Minister of Foreign Affairs)

Audrey McLaughlin (former federal Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada)

Robert Ghiz, (former Premier, Prince Edward Island)

Susan Aglukark (Inuk Singer/Songwriter, Author & Founder, Arctic Rose Foundation)

Gail Atkinson (retired Elementary School Principal, Québec)

Charles Ungerleider (former Deputy Minister of Education, British Columbia)

Rosemarie Kuptana (Writers and Speaker, Arctic Rose Foundation – Nunavut and Nova Scotia)

Martha Fulford (Professor, Faculty of Medicine, McMaster University)

Mike Aumond (former Secretary to Cabinet/Executive Council, Government of the Northwest Territories)

Edward Mirasty (Director of Education, Prince Albert Tribal Council, Saskatchewan)

Vincent Brittain (Third Level Specialist, Prince Albert Tribal Council, Saskatchewan)

Howard Burston (Director of Operations, Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre Inc.)

Bob Sharp (retired Elementary and High School Principal, Yukon)

Kevin O’Connor (Chair, Department of Education, Mount Royal University, Calgary)

Fred Lazar (Professor, Schulich School of Business, York University)

Jaclyn Volkhammer (Elementary School Teacher, York Region District School Board)

Kirby Mitchell (High School Teacher, Peel Region)

Paul Perlon (Head of Emergency Physician Group, Mackenzie Health Hospital, Richmond Hill)

Donna E. Young (Founding Dean, Ryerson Law School)

Sara L. Austin (Founder & CEO, Children First Canada, Calgary)

Paul Stalteri (former Captain and Hall of Famer, Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team)


Pedro A. Noguera, Dean, USC Rossier School of Education (Los Angeles)

Robert Pianta, Dean, School of Education and Development, University of Virginia (Charlottesville)

Mia Tuan, Dean, College of Education, University of Washington (Seattle)

Nancy Marchand-Martella, Dean, College of Education, Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana)

Nancy Rousseau, Principal, Little Rock Central High School (Little Rock, Arkansas)

Drew Furedi, President & CEO, Para Los Ninõs (Los Angeles)

Chandresh Harjivan, Managing Partner, Boston Consulting Group (Washington, DC)

Hilary Darilek, Chief Executive Officer, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School (Washington, DC)


Sudarshan Ramaswamy, Dean, School of Government and Public Policy, Jindal Global University (New Delhi)

Vimala Ramachandran, Director, Educational Resource Unit (Jaipur and Delhi)

Sri Lanka:

Tara de Mel, former Secretary, Ministry of Education & Vice Chairperson, National Education Commission; Co-Founder, Education Forum Sri Lanka (Colombo)


Senator (r) Javed Jabbar, former Federal Minister, pro bono activist promoting enrolment and education (Karachi)


Manzoor Hasan, Executive Director, Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University (Dhaka)

United Kingdom:

Geoff Mulgan, Professor, University College London & former Head of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unity (London)

Andrew Ratcliffe, Executive Director, Impact on Urban Health (London) and Past Managing Director, Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative

Sam Freedman, CEO, Education Partnerships Group (London)


Charles Tardieu, former Minister of Education of Haiti (Port-au-Prince)

Nesmy Manigat, former Minister of Education of Haiti (Port-au-Prince)

Roller Saint-Pierre, Director-General, Institut haïtien de formation en sciences de l’éducation; former Chief of Staff, Ministry of Education (Port-au-Prince)

Anouk Ewald, Director of the Institut supérieur de formation, recherche et innovation en éducation (Innov-Ed/UniQ) (Port-au-Prince)


Silvina Gvirtz, former Minister of Education, Buenos Aires Province (Buenos Aires)


Belachew Gebrewold, Professor and Department Head, MCI Management Center Innsbruck (Innsbruck)

Nils Mevenkamp, Professor of Statistics & Empirical Social Research, MCI Management Center Innsbruck (Innsbruck)


Fiona M. Kiggundu, Executive Director, Project Princess Initiative (Kampala, Kalungu & Masaka)

Alice Esther Biira, Board Member & Science Instructor, Project Princess Initiative (Kampala, Kalungu & Masaka)


Bakary Sambe, Director, Timbuktu Institute-African Center for Peace Studies, Senegal (Dakar)


Rhodora Angela F. Ferrer, Private Education Assistance Committee (Manila)


Elena Dubinina, Principal, Innovative School-Gymnasium No. 4-Yuri Gagarin (Mailuu-Suu)


Eduard Afonin, Professor, National Academy of Public Administration (Kyiv)

Aksana Filipishina, Representative of the Commissioner for Children’s and Family Rights (Kyiv)


Yossi Baidatz, CEO, The Center for Educational Technology (Tel Aviv)


Irina Mersianova, Director, Research Centre on Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector, Higher School of Economics (Moscow)


Monica Mincu, Associate Professor of Education, Università degli Studi di Torino & Member, Education/Learning & Innovation UNESCO Team (Turin)


Ketevan Zhvania-Tyson, Trainer and Youth Worker, Non-formal Education Youth Centre “Sunny House” (Tbilisi)

Manana Tevzadze, Head of British Department, University of Georgia (Tbilisi)


Vera Arezina, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade (Belgrade)


Vahram Poghosyan, Director, Participatory School Educational Foundation (Yerevan)

Haykuhi Hayrapetyan, Project Leader, “Regeneration” (Yerevan)

Costa Rica:

Jorge Vargas Cullell, Director, Programa Estado de la Nación (San José)


Sharma Grandison, Sixth Form Supervisor & English Teacher, Holy Childhood High School (Kingston)

Canute Fagan, Dean of Discipline, Calabar High School (Kingston)

Côte d’Ivoire:

Koffi Dodji Honou, Stanford Fablearn Fellow (Abidjan)


Gaskin B. Dassah, Coordinator, Northern Network for Education Development (Tamale)


Samir Costantine, Founder, General Managet & Consultant, Waznat Consultancy and Training (Beirut)


Adrian Hatos, Professor, University of Oradea and Romanian Senator (Bucharest)


Costanza Liliana Alarcon Parraga, Deputy Minister of Education of Colombia (Bogota)

Ana Bolena Escobar, Professor, Secretary of Education, Palmira (Palmira)

Pablo Jaramillo Quintero, Director General, Allianza Educativa (Bogota)


Stanislaw Alwasiak, Director, Centre for Social Innovation Research and Development, Jesuit University (Krakow)


Ines Kudo, Founder & CEO, Tinkuy Marka Academy (Lima)

Sandra Marcone, Executive Director, CulturaDigital.pe (Lima)


Bal Chandra Luitel, Professor of STEAM Education, Kathmandu University (Dhulikhel)


Elisa Bonilla-Rius, Partner, BO TH Praxis Estrategica (Mexico City)


Diana Goncalves Vidal, Dean, Brazilian Studies Institute, University of Sao Paulo; Former President, Brazilian History of Education Society; Former President, Committee for Education, National Council for Research (Sao Paulo)


Abdulla Rasheed Ahmed, Minister of State for Education & Head of National Institute of Education (Malé)


Jose Weinstein, Director, Education Leadership Program, Faculty of Education, Universidad Diego Portales (Santiago)


Sangay Thinley, Former Health & Education Secretary of Bhutan (Thimphu)

Forward Schedule for the Commission – Early 2021

National Press Conference – Tuesday, January 26 – 10.30am EST

International Press Conference – Thursday, January 28 – 9.30am EST / 2.30pm GMT

Friday, February 5 – Meeting of the Canadian Delegation of the Commission

Friday, February 12 – Meeting of the Entire Worldwide Commission

Monday, February 22 – Canadian Open Conference

Friday, February 26 – Worldwide Commission Open Conference

Friday, March 12 – Worldwide Commission All-USA Conference

Friday, March 19 – Worldwide Commission All-South Asia Conference

Friday, March 26 – Worldwide Commission All-Latin America Conference