UNICEF launched a new partnership with Microsoft Corp. to tackle the education crisis impacting children and young people affected by conflict and natural disasters, and to provide them with protection services. Under this partnership, UNICEF in collaboration with Microsoft and the University of Cambridge, are developing a learning passport’ a digital platform that will facilitate learning opportunities for children and young people within and across borders. The learning passport will be tested and piloted in countries hosting refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons.
"Conflicts and natural disasters 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," said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. "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."
Currently, many education systems in countries hosting refugees are struggling to acknowledge and recognize what refugee and migrant children and young people have already learned in school, making it impossible to provide them with the right level of education and, in the long term, limiting their employment prospects.
"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." Under the new partnership Microsoft and UNICEF will also develop new innovations to protect children and young people affected by emergencies, scaling up UNICEF’s digital child protection case management system.
"This is a vital partnership, as bringing together committed partners such as Microsoft, who are willing to utilize their resources and expertise, will help to solve the biggest challenges for the world’s children," said Caryl Stern, President and CEO, UNICEF USA. "All over the world, I have borne witness to the irreplaceable value education provides to children, especially to those who have had to leave their homes. Together, education and protection empower children to have a brighter future, and we look forward to seeing the impact of this powerful collaboration."
"This is a unique opportunity to work together to create a bespoke system of education that will help displaced children and young people fulfill their potential, and release their talents into a world that needs them," Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press Peter Phillips.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, they work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.