UNICEF enables children in Albania to learn online through Akademi.al

Online learning in Albania through partnership with Ministry of Education and private sector

Dean Celaj (Akademia.al) and Mirlinda Bushati, Early Learning and Education Specialist
29 June 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic could be one of the most significant events of the decade because it directly affected our social and professional life. All sectors seemed to be freezing for a while. Education was one of the most sensitive sectors affected. In the context of the rapidly evolving situation due to coronavirus, finding alternative learning pathways, as soon as possible, became an emergency and was the main priority of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth in Albania.

Designed and conceived in 2019 to bring a virtual way of learning to all pre-university system students, Akademi.al was the first choice of the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth. We have donated more than 2,000 lessons to enable students to learn from home.

Akademi.al in collaboration with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth, made the platform available immediately to all students for free. All video lessons are in Albanian language and can be watched by students aged 3-18 also on national television.

Time was the main challenge Akademi.al was faced with. By partnering with UNICEF, we were able to secure the necessary resources to continue recording video lessons even while schools were closed. Our teachers were all equipped with laptops, tablets, and microphones to enable them to teach from home. More than 250,00 students have benefited from online learning so far and we expect the rest of the students to learn through the platform by 2021.

Akademi.al recently uploaded 1,100 new video lessons with funding from UNICEF  to support students with their national Matura exams. These exams are of high importance, especially for students who must secure their university offers in advance. The lessons were all recorded during the COVID-19 period, highlighting the immediate impact of our partnership with UNICEF. We adopted the most efficient method of learning for exams by providing video explanations to exam questions. The video lessons are adjusted for children with hearing and vision disabilities, which is our key objective to enable as many children as possible to have access to excellent education for free.

Accessibility is at the heart of our partnership with UNICEF. Aside from building a website which is accessible by everyone, we are also ensuring that our video lessons have voice-only, video-only, and text-only formats for children with disabilities. Although some of the accessibility features are embedded immediately, most of the features will be made available upon our new software release which can support 500,000+ users.

By September 2020, it aims to include video lessons corresponding to each chapter of every subject for children aged 3-18. The main idea behind this approach is to offer an end-to-end learning experience, like homeschooling, which can be conducted entirely online for free. Furthermore, as learners prefer to learn content on-the-go, Akademi.al has created a mobile-compatible interface, so that they can have complete flexibility of their self-learning cycle. Content on the Akademi.al platform is easily accessible and consistent across different web browsers and devices. The development of a mobile application is part of akademi.al  and UNICEF near future objectives.

Akademi.al is part of UNICEF initiative in cooperation with Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth. It stands for a mission to be close to every student, to create and develop everyone’s knowledge, at any time.