UNICEF and Pearson Launch Educational Partnership for Children

Equipping marginalised youth in Myanmar and Vietnam with 21st century and employability skills

UNICEF Innovation
Children clap during a learning activity in Ban Pho Preschool in Bac Han District in remote Lao Cai Province.
28 March 2017

UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation, and Pearson, the world’s learning company, are partnering to support marginalised youth in Myanmar and Vietnam. Together they are launching a programme that equips young people with 21st century and employability skills and helps them create entrepreneurial solutions to the barriers that they, and their communities, face.

The programme will reach out to marginalised and vulnerable adolescents and young people, who will take part in a series of workshops where they will be taught crucial skills such as critical thinking, communication, team-work, entrepreneurship and project management. They will then be guided to use these skills to identify and analyze real world challenges and problems that are facing their communities, and come up with entrepreneurial solutions and businesses ideas that address them.

“Southeast Asia is currently experiencing a staggering youth boom, with more than half of the 630 million people in the ASEAN region under the age of 20. The future economic, social and political wellbeing of the region will be shaped by the way in which these young people transition into adulthood. If they have the right skills and are properly supported, there is no limit to what these young people could achieve for themselves, for their communities and for their countries. This why it is so exciting to be working with a partner like Pearson. An innovator that sees this challenge and is prepared to bring its insight, expertise and resources to bear in helping UNICEF to scale up a programme like this one that will give young people vital skills.”

Mike Penrose, Executive Director at UNICEF UK
Ma Ya Tu (second right), a Buddhist who helps her aunt Aye Aye Than to sell fish at a local market, sits in a classroom with other students at an internally displaced person (IDP) school in Baudupha IDP camp, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Ma Ya Tu (second right), a Buddhist who helps her aunt Aye Aye Than to sell fish at a local market, sits in a classroom with other students at an internally displaced person (IDP) school in Baudupha IDP camp, Rakhine State, Myanmar

”As the world’s learning company, we are focused on the need for young people to develop the skills that will enable them to build a career and make progress in their lives. This partnership will help young people to achieve these skills and to successfully tackle the challenges that affect them and their communities.”

Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing Officer, Pearson

It is UNICEF and Pearson’s hope that in addition to 3,000 plus young people who will directly take part, the programme will leave a lasting legacy that will continue to benefit young people and their communities into the future. The programme will be delivered by local teachers, youth facilitators and community leaders who will be trained to deliver the programme’s 21st century skills curricula and who will be able to continue teaching and passing on their learnings. The young people participating in the programme will also be taught to pass on the skills they are developing and the ideas and businesses they develop will go on to impact positively on tens of thousands of their peers as they take effect in communities.

The programme is a scaled-up version of existing programme called UPSHIFT, which has been successfully piloted in smaller groups. Business ideas that have already been developed and brought into existence by young people participating in this earlier pilot include; a job search website for the visually impaired; resources and a curriculum that can be used to teach primary school children about respiratory health issues; and a training course for students on how to help people with disabilities to benefit from public transportation.

Teacher Le Thi Tuyet Trang hands her students Khmer letters with which they will play a game.
Teacher Le Thi Tuyet Trang hands her students Khmer letters with which they will play a game.

We know that businesses have the scale, investment, and expertise to help address the world’s biggest challenges. In addition to Pearson’s funding commitment of $1,090,000, Pearson’s involvement and contribution will include activities such as; curriculum development, mentoring, participation in committees to determine ideas that are funded, and participation/facilitation in workshops.



For more information please contact:

Lilly Carlisle (UK), lillyc@unicef.org.uk, +44 (0)207 375 6212
Unicef UK Media Team, media@unicef.org.uk, +44 (0)207 375 6030

Gemma Terry (UK), gemma.terry@pearson.com, +44 07841 363216

UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

UNICEF UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. UNICEF UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

About Pearson
Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit www.Pearson.com.