UNICEF leads on global initiatives to link millions of children and young people with world-class digital solutions. For children affected by conflict, disaster or poverty; for girls kept from classrooms; or for those cut off from school because they live with a disability – digital education can help them leapfrog to a brighter future.
With key partners, we are closing the digital gender divide, connecting every school to the internet, and bringing accessible technologies to children’s fingertips – whether they're at home, in school or on the move.
Gateways to Public Digital Learning
At the Transforming Education Summit (TES), UNICEF and UNESCO launched Gateways to Public Digital Learning, the flagship TES global initiative for digital learning and transformation. Gateways is committed to working with governments and partners on establishing digital education as a public good through high quality, inclusive national digital learning platforms and content. The initiative will map, describe and analyze national public platforms and content; help countries create and strengthen national platforms; identify and showcase best practices; and establish international norms and standards to guide the development of platforms in ways that advance national and international goals for education.
Millions of children and young people are not developing the skills they need to break out of poverty. The growth of technology and the increasingly broad range of actors providing online learning means we can deliver learning opportunities anywhere, at any time.
But more than half of the world’s children and young people are on the wrong side of the digital divide, limiting access to the same opportunities as their connected peers.
We urgently need to reimagine education. A modern education should build and accredit basic skills – reading, writing and math – as well as skills in problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking that young people need for work, to start a business and to engage productively in their communities.
One way in which UNICEF is reimagining education is by reimagining the traditional textbook. Through accessible digital textbooks, which include sign language, narration, mother tongue translation and interactivity, learners can interact with learning materials according to their diverse needs.
Reimagining education across three life transitions
Age 5: Ready to start school
Through UNICEF’s Bebbo parent app, we provide essential guidance to parents of young children including playful parenting and early learning. UNICEF also works with partners to provide reading books to young children in local languages, and in digital formats which are accessible for children with disabilities, such as through sign language and narration.
Age 10: Acquired foundational skills
UNICEF works with governments in over 100 countries to provide opportunities for children to develop foundational skills, including digital skills. We apply blended learning approaches, which combines traditional face-to-face classroom teaching with digital platforms such as the Learning Passport and Akelius for refugee children.
To thrive in a global digital world, digital literacy is increasingly recognized as a central element of the skills a child requires for school, work and life. UNICEF works closely with Ministries of Education on introducing children to digital technologies, including online safety.
Age 18: Ready for life and work
Through Gateways to Public Digital Learning we envision digital learning as a public good accessible to all, including children and youth in emergencies. Whether in school or out of school, UNICEF works with governments and partners to provide children and youth with lifelong learning opportunities. This includes development of 21st century skills and preparation for the future of work, as well as empowering youth to become global citizens.