UNICEF and CARE launch learning platform during COVID-19
During the pandemic, UNICEF and its partners ensured that all children have access to online learning platforms provided by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Technical Education.
UNICEF in collaboration with CARE have established a Learning Hub in Agami district, located on the outskirts of Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city. Twenty kilometers west of Alexandria lies the child-friendly space located in the midst of 6th of October village which became a popular destination for Syrian refugees.
The Learning Hub serves the most vulnerable children, particularly those from the refugee communities in the surrounding area, as it provides continuous access to education and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Learning Hub, students can access various online learning platforms provided by UNICEF such as the Learning Passport as well as those from the Ministry of Education and Technical Education.
The Learning Passport is an online learning platform that was launched by UNICEF earlier this year to provide interactive learning opportunities. This platform encompasses learning materials for children, teachers, and parents. Also, the content available to school children includes online textbooks, videos as well as additional support for parents of children with learning disabilities.
Furthermore, the Learning Hub provides teachers with equipment to record educational lessons in form of podcasts or YouTube videos, which are then uploaded on the Learning Passport or shared with students via WhatsApp, to support their learning and preparation for the exams.
“We need to come together and explore every avenue to keep children learning and help them through this difficult time”, said Fazlul Haque, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Egypt. “With such initiatives like the learning hub, we are able to swiftly deploy innovative, scalable solutions for children and youth.”
Thirteen-year-old Aram Mohamed from Syria appears excited to use the newly installed digital accessible textbook on the laptop despite not having used it before. “This platform is very useful to me, but I hope that one day we can interact and ask questions to teachers through this wonderful platform”, said Aram.
The Learning Hub also aims to provide children with a protected environment in which they can participate in organized activities to play, socialize, learn, and express themselves. The sessions held at the Learning Hub engage children in specially designed age-appropriate recreational and educational activities to develop life skills, coping mechanisms, and build their self-esteem.
13 facilitators are in constant communication with the parents and children, and they motivate the parents to send their children to the learning hub. It helps them overcome the situation they are in, which is very important for their mental health. The children are very interested in going to the learning space. They often approach the facilitators seeking assistance in doing their homework. Also, children are provided with COVID-19 hygiene kits such as hand sanitizers and face masks as well as information on COVID-19 preventive measures.
The Learning Hub promotes values of inclusion and acceptance bringing together learners, educators, and parents from different nationalities. Since the inauguration of the Learning Hub, more than 200 children from different nationalities (i.e. Syrian, Sudanese, Syrian and Egyptian) have joined the UNICEF-supported hub.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of children and their families in Egypt and across the globe. The partnership of UNICEF and CARE is an excellent example of how to support most vulnerable children to access education and learning opportunities during school closure and how to successfully engage with teachers and parents to keep children healthy and learning. UNICEF supports hundreds of children through child friendly spaces thanks to the generous support from the American people and the United States’ Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM).
UNCEF spares no effort to ensure the continuity of learning during the unprecedented global emergency of COVID-19 pandemic.