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UNICEF Corporate and Philanthropic Partnerships


Microsoft and UNICEF to transform access to education for children and young people on the move

© UNICEF/UN051294/Herwig

UNICEF and Microsoft have joined forces to tackle the education crisis affecting children and young people on the move.

Under the partnership, UNICEF and Microsoft will develop a  ‘learning passport’ – a digital, personalized platform that will ensure displaced children and young people can continue their studies and have their achievements recorded, wherever they are.

When a child or young person’s education is disrupted the consequences can last a lifetime, making it difficult for them to sit exams, gain the certificates that validate their learning and skills, and ultimately, find work as adults.

"Even as a child, I knew that education was the key to my future, so when I fled Syria, the only belongings I took with me were my school books. As a refugee, I saw what happens when children are forced into early marriage or manual labor – they lose out on education and they lose out on possibilities for the future," said Muzoon Almellehan, 20-year-old Syrian refugee and UNICEF Ambassador.

Humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises have disrupted learning opportunities and the quality of education for 75 million children and young people, many of whom have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced from their homes.

"The learning passport is a great example of how we can use technological innovations to help the world’s future doers, thinkers and leaders – wherever they are and no matter the challenges,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, at the announcement of the partnership with Microsoft in September 2018.

"A digitally inclusive world starts with ensuring that all young people, no matter their situation, have access to a digital education," said President of Microsoft Brad Smith. "This partnership is focused on creating scalable learning solutions to help millions of displaced and refugee children gain the skills they need to thrive."

The curriculum for the 'learning passport' will be developed with the UK’s University of Cambridge, specialists in learning resource development, assessment and research. The learning passport will be tested and piloted in countries hosting refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons before being rolled out more widely.

Peter Phillips, Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press, said "This is a unique opportunity to work together to create a bespoke system of education that will help displaced young people realize their potential, and release their talents into a world that needs them."  

Protection Services for Children and Young People on the Move

UNICEF and Microsoft will also deliver technology innovations to protect children and young people on the move by upgrading UNICEF’s digital child protection case management system Primero, used by UNICEF staff in emergencies. Primero makes it easier to track and trace families in conflict and disaster situations, to speed-up family reunification and simplify access to basic services.

Facts on Education and Protection

  • Education is a right and a critical opportunity. For children and adolescents worldwide, it holds the key to a life with less poverty, better health and an increased ability to take the future into their own hands. For nations, it holds the key to prosperity, economic growth, and poverty reduction.
  • Emergencies and protracted crises have disrupted learning opportunities and the quality of education for 75 million children aged 3 to 18, in 35 crisis-affected countries.
  • Refugees are five times more likely to be out of school than other children. Only 50% of refugee children are enrolled in primary school, and less than 25% of refugee youth are enrolled in secondary school.
  • UNICEF’s education programmes in 155 countries reach more children than any other organization.
  • Displaced Children and young people are highly vulnerable to risks including separation from family and guardians, and exposure to violence.
  • The number of child refugees jumped by roughly 75 per cent between 2010 and 2015.

Press Release

UNICEF announces new partnership with Microsoft to address education crisis affecting displaced and refugee children and young people.

Blog post by Head of Microsoft Philanthropies, Mary Snapp

Empowering a sustainable future.




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