Equity and Inclusion
UNICEF works to ensure that all children, including those excluded or marginalized, can benefit from digital learning.
Accessible Digital Learning
There are 240 million children living with disabilities in the world, and the vast majority lack access to assistive technologies and accessible learning opportunities.
UNICEF is working to leverage the latest advances in technology as part of our efforts to ensure learning environments are inclusive and accessible. UNICEF and partners are convening disability experts, developers, researchers, and young minds to explore innovative solutions which enable accessible learning.
Accessibility features such as sign language, narration, image descriptions, and flexible learning journeys can enable learning to be personalized to meet diverse needs. AI has the potential to personalize the learning journey, as well as fast-track the development of accessible content for children with disabilities. Accessible and inclusive digital learning can help ensure that all children have the dignity and autonomy they deserve to learn, develop and thrive to their fullest potential.
Accessible Digital Textbooks
The Accessible Digital Textbooks (ADT) initiative, led by UNICEF in collaboration with Ministries of Education and global partners working on disability inclusion, creates and delivers accessible digital learning content that allows children with and without disabilities to learn in the same classroom. The ADT initiative has thus far been implemented by UNICEF in 10 countries across Latin America, Europe, and Eastern and Southern Africa.
Bridging the gender digital divide
According to UNICEF’s recent data, girls and young women continue to have a significantly lower prevalence of digital skills than their male counterparts, as well as face significant disparities with regards to internet use and access.
“In low-income countries, 90 per cent of adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 are offline.”
UNICEF’s work aims to empower and equip girls and young women with the right skills, resources and opportunities so that they can make use of digital tools and solutions to pursue their aspirations and become leaders and innovators in their societies.
Skills4Girls develops girls’ skills in areas such as STEM, digital technologies, and social entrepreneurship in addition to life skills such as problem-solving, negotiation, self-esteem, and communication.
Connectivity and digital infrastructure
Efforts to connect schools, learners, and teachers to the internet, as well as providing them with appropriate devices for teaching and learning, play a key part in facilitating digital education.
UNICEF’s ongoing work with ITU and Airtel contribute towards these efforts – ensuring all children have access to appropriate digital infrastructure to support their learning.
To ensure inclusive and equitable opportunities for digital education, we work to address multiple digital divides:
1. Connectivity and infrastructure divides relate to network quality and coverage, and disparities in access to devices and electricity both at home and at school. Hundreds of millions of children and young people lack access to devices and (stable) connectivity. Girls in particular are less likely to have access to devices and Internet.
2. Digital skills divides relate to the digital skills needed for living, learning, and working. In an increasingly digital world, it is increasingly important for children and young people to acquire digital skills, for online safety and digital well-being, to benefit from digital learning and skilling opportunities, and to prepare for the future of work.
3. Social divides include language, gender, caste and location divides, as well as for children with disabilities, and children from linguistic, ethnic and religious minority groups.