World Education is pleased to be an affiliated partner with UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition.
The UNESCO initiative is designed to protect the right to education during unprecedented disruption and beyond.
The initiative was launched in earlier in 2020 to support the equitable continuation of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure a full and fair return to education following the pandemic.
“We are pleased to join the coalition and look forward to working with partners to mitigate the immediate disruption caused by COVID-19, safeguard education, and establish approaches to develop more open and equitable education systems for the future,” commented Joel Lamstein, World Education president.
Since the onset of COVID-19 school closures, World Education has mobilized resources to support programs and partners during this crisis. Ongoing activities include:
- Our EdTech Center is delivering free coaching and technical assistance through weekly Distance Education Strategy Sessions. We have had more than 1200 sign-ups for these sessions to date and over dozens of hours of coaching and support. We are committed to offering these as long as needed and identifying ways to expand access to them through recordings and virtual communities of practice.
- The EdTech Center also launched a website, Tips for Distance Learning, featuring resources and step-by-step guidance to launch or scale-up distance education programs. The site is updated daily and includes guidance on the first steps to take in planning successful implementation (recruiting, onboarding, teaching, and assessing learners), and locating and evaluating online learning resources. Since the launch in March, we have had over 85,000 page views, 37,000 visitors and 2,500 downloads of our guides and related resources site wide.
- We are working with digital learning content providers, such as Cell-Ed, to ensure their content aligns with the needs of learners. Our partnerships with providers also ensures that teachers and programs have access to special offers available during the pandemic.
- We designed and lead Digital US, a coalition of more than 25 organizations to build the technology skills and digital resilience of learner-workers in the U.S. The coalition is actively working to help partners to close divides in Internet and technology access and digital skills gaps.
- Across the six African countries where World Education’s Bantwana initiative works, field teams have been mobilized to ensure that critical child protection and HIV services continue, and that communities have accurate information to protect themselves from COVID-19.
- In Tanzania, our Waache Wasome (“Let them learn”) project team is refining COVID-19-related materials for sharing remotely with teachers, students, and students’ families. Project staff are preparing pilot video and audio sessions to continue our core work building the protective assets of adolescent girls, reducing school-related gender-based violence, and strengthening household economic resilience.
- In Cote d’Ivoire, in partnership with other INGOs, we are coordinating with UNICEF to implement COVID-19 awareness raising activities in past and present program communities.
- In Ghana, the Strategic Approaches to Girls’ Education program is working to keep more than 9,500 out of school girls safe and engaged in learning. The impact of the COVID crisis is particularly challenging for marginalized girls and vulnerable adults. We are guiding communities to build tippy taps and practice proper hand washing techniques whilst engaging local crafts people to manufacture and provide soap. Child-friendly behavior change materials have been distributed to sensitize communities about the importance of WASH, safeguarding, and girls’ education. We are also working with the Ministry of Education and national partners to set up interactive radio instruction and SMS contact to keep girls engaged in learning while local community oversight committees will provide mentoring where needed.
- World Education is working with its partners in the STEM Teacher Education and School Strengthening Activity in Egypt to ensure that teachers receive professional development on ESOL instruction while Egyptian schools remain shuttered.
- In Asia, we have taken swift actions to safeguard access to education and essential services. In Laos, World Education is working with local partners to make WHO COVID-19 related communications materials more accessible for deaf persons or persons hard of hearing by adding sign language. In Cambodia, World Education is working with national partners to ensure primary school children continue to learn through online platforms and that primary school teachers have access to professional development and coaching. In Nepal, World Education is responding by working with the Government to develop distance learning materials; leading the Schools as Zones of Peace coalition to monitor usage of school buildings as quarantine facilities and ensure plans are in place for these to be left in safe and good condition when school resumes; and developing innovative digital content, including ebooks in Nepali Sign Language and 11 spoken languages.
A COVID-19 Response Toolkit developed by the coalition provides resources for how to address 9 key topics of an educational response to the pandemic in countries.