Schools have closed in more than 190 countries to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, disrupting the educations of more than 1.5 billion students. To help children and youth continue their education at home during this unprecedented time, UNICEF and Microsoft have accelerated access to an online learning platform originally designed to provide education for displaced and refugee children and youth.
Kosovo, Timor-Leste and Ukraine are the first countries to roll out their online curriculum through the Learning Passport
A partnership between UNICEF, Microsoft Corp. and the University of Cambridge, the Learning Passport has been scaled up to facilitate country-level curriculum and provide key resources to teachers and educators. Kosovo, Timor-Leste and Ukraine are the first countries to roll out their online curriculum through the platform.
"From school closures, to isolation, to a persistent sense of fear and anxiety, the effects of this pandemic are impacting childhoods worldwide," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. "We need to come together and explore every avenue to help our children through this difficult time. And with partners like Microsoft, we are able to swiftly deploy innovative, scalable solutions for children and youth. The adaptations made to the Learning Passport are a powerful reminder of what we can achieve together with our partners for children as the crisis deepens globally."
We need to come together and explore every avenue to help our children through this difficult time. — Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director
In development for more than 18 months, the Learning Passport underwent rapid expansion of its reach to meet the needs of children during the current crisis. Countries with digital curriculum can now facilitate remote learning for children and youth who have an internet connection and access to a device such as a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or computer at home.
Children and young people continuing their education online can do so through a country-specific platform. Each country's platform provides a digitized curriculum with textbooks and a selection of supplemental content, in national languages, that is jointly curated at country level to best serve learners' and educators' specific needs. The Learning Passport keeps track of every curriculum subject each student learns and guides learners with little additional support required.
The Learning Passport is part of the Generation Unlimited Global Breakthroughs on Remote Learning and Work and Portable Certification that aim to use technology to address challenges faced by learners, facilitators and education providers, particularly in conflict-affected and humanitarian settings. Generation Unlimited is a global multi-sector partnership to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people.
Top photo: On April 14, 2020 in Timor-Leste, a girl shows off the Learning Passport online platform on which children and parents can access a range of audiovisual materials to help students continue learning at home during ongoing school closures. The Learning Passport was developed by Microsoft, UNICEF and the University of Cambridge. Schools in Timor-Leste have been closed since March 23 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. © UNICEF/UNI320754/Soares