COVID-19 and the INEE Minimum Standards

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Out of School
Global Agendas - SDG, Education 2030, etc.
Programme Cycle

This article is part of a collection of blog posts related to the education in emergencies response to COVID-19.

We have what it takes to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis is larger than any the education in emergencies (EiE) community has ever faced - its breadth and impact are truly global - and it compounds existing crises. But our experience is rich, our network wide, our Standards robust, and our tools applicable in this unprecedented emergency. As mentioned in a recent Harvard Graduate School of Education blog, “The ideas and guidance contained within [the INEE Minimum Standards] are applicable to any time of disruption and uncertainty, including the current moment.” We want to demonstrate the experience and expertise of INEE as it applies to the present crisis.

We are committed to using our tools and collective wisdom gained over the past few decades to respond together to this global emergency.

INEE Minimum Standards cover image
The INEE Minimum Standards Handbook contains 19 standards, each with accompanying key actions and guidance notes. Download and read in 20 languages.

Though the scale of the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, as INEE members and EiE practitioners, we maintain our commitment to enhancing the quality of educational preparedness, response, and recovery; to increasing access to safe and relevant learning opportunities; and to ensuring accountability in providing these services. Over the last twenty years, INEE members have relied on the INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, and Recovery as the global framework for delivering quality education in emergencies - and now, more than ever, we must utilize common guidance in order to achieve our shared goals.

As an education practitioner with many years of experience, and as a human being experiencing this crisis with my family and children, and having in mind the many teachers and students with whom I have worked, I feel that both INEE and the INEE Minimum Standards provide me with comfort and support at this time. To join hundreds of INEE’s 16,500+ members on webinars is to join my community, even during a time of isolation. To use the INEE Minimum Standards is to reconnect with the voices of the nearly 3,000 education professionals around the world that contributed to their development. 

With reference to the new INEE Technical Note on Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic, I am grateful that the resource highlights sections of the INEE Minimum Standards that can provide further and deeper guidance on COVID-19 related topics. Whatever phase of work I am in, whether design, implementation, assessment phase -- or, as in these days, a waiting period -- I know that I can always turn to a useful domain of the INEE Minimum Standards and find key actions and detailed guidance notes to support my thinking. 

For example, in these Coronavirus times it is critical to be aware of how to handle hygiene promotion. Most governments around the world advise the population to wash their hands, and guidance for safe water and hygiene promotion is especially important in all schools. By opening my INEE Minimum Standards Handbook to Domain 2: Access and Learning Environment, Standard 3: Facilities and Services, I can read specifically about how to ensure education facilities promote the safety and well-being of learners, teachers, and other education personnel, and how they are linked to health, nutrition, psychosocial, and protection services. By cross-referencing Action 5 of the Technical Note, I can consider suggested tasks and key resources relevant to the acute phase of the COVID-19 response that might help me address the unique complications that we are facing in this global pandemic.

The table belows maps out a similar way of thinking about how to use the Domains, Standards, Key Actions and Guidance Notes within the INEE Minimum Standards Handbook during the COVID-19 education response. 

For more guidance on contextualizing and applying the INEE Minimum Standards, including support for INEE Minimum Standards training, or any other technical or capacity building needs, please visit or write to

INEE Minimum Standards and COVID-19 Response

Domain 1. Foundational Standards



Relevance to Education during COVID-19

Key Actions (KA) and Guidance Notes (GN)

Community Participation


Distance Learning: Participatory Learning

GN 1. Inclusive community participation


Distance Teaching

GN 1. Community Resources and 5. Local Capacity



Remote and/or distance coordination

GN 1. An Inter-agency Coordination Committee



Analysis of the context from a distance perspective

GN 3. Analysis of Context, 4. Data Validity and Methods of Data Analysis, 5. Participants in Assessments, and 6.Collaboration Within the Sector and with Other Sectors

Response Strategies

“Do no harm”; Local Capacity

GN 1. Response Strategies, 3. ‘Do No Harm’, and 5. Donor Response



KA 3: “Vulnerable people are regularly consulted, trained in data collection methodologies and involved in monitoring activities.” and GN 2. People Involved in Monitoring



GN 1. Distinction between Monitoring and Evaluation and 2. Capacity Building Through Evaluation

Domain 2. Access and Learning Environment


Relevance to Education during COVID-19

Key Actions (KA) and Guidance Notes (GN)

Equal Access

The transition between different types of teaching and learning; Access to home-based education

GN 1. Discrimination, 3. A Range of Quality Education Opportunities, 4. Flexibility, and 9. Minimising the Use of Educational Facilities as Temporary Shelters

Protection and Well-Being

Gender-based Violence

GN 4. Gender-based Violence and, from the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, Standard 23. Education and Protection

Facilities and Services

Safe Water and Hygiene Promotion; Hand Washing

From the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, Standard 26. Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) and Child Protection and GN 26.3.1 Capacity Building

Domain 3. Teaching and Learning


Relevance to Education during COVID-19

Key Actions (KA) and Guidance Notes (GN)


Curricula adaptation from classroom to home based teaching and learning

GN 1. A Curriculum, 3. Curriculum Review and Development, 8. Diversity, and 9. Locally Available Learning Materials

Training, Professional Development, and Support

Teacher Training; Teachers in Crisis Contexts

GN 1. ‘Teacher’

Instruction and Learning Processes

Barriers to Learning

GN 2. Barriers to Learning and 3. Appropriate Teaching Methods

Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Inclusive Education

GN 1. Effective Assessment and Evaluation Methods and Measures and 4. Relevance

Domain 4. Teachers and Other Education Personnel


Relevance to Education during COVID-19

Key Actions (KA) and Guidance Notes (GN)

Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment during COVID-19; Transition educational activities to ‘normalcy’

GN 1. Job Descriptions and 2. Experience and Qualifications

Conditions of Work

Condition of work, remote teaching; Condition of remote support; The role of Parents and Caretakers

GN 1. Conditions of Work

Support and Supervision

Teacher peer coaching

Teacher Learning Circles as outlined in the Teachers in Crisis Contexts Training Pack and GN 2. Support and Supervisory Mechanisms, 4. Performance Appraisals, and 6. Psychosocial Support and Well-Being

Domain 5. Education Policy


Relevance to Education during COVID-19

Key Actions (KA) and Guidance Notes (GN)

Law and Policy Formulation

Government ownership to education

GN 1. The national authority’s duty is to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to education according to international human rights instruments.

Planning and Implementation

Right to education

GN 1. Meeting Education Rights and Goals, 3. National and Local Education Plans, 4. Resources, and 5. Transparency and Accountability