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COVID-19: UNICEF and Microsoft launch platform global response to the crisis in education

With the closure of schools in more than 190 countries removing more than 1.57 billion people classroom students, the Learning Passport platform wants to ensure that children continue to learn.

LISBON, 20 April 2020 - UNICEF and Microsoft Corp. announced the expansion of a global education platform to help children and youth affected by COVID-19 to continue their studies at home.
 The Learning Passport platform began as a partnership between UNICEF, Microsoft and the University of Cambridge, whose aim was to ensure the continuation of education for displaced and refugee children, through a digital distance learning platform. Now, its expansion will serve to provide the national curriculum to children and young people whose schools were forced to close due to COVID-19. The platform will also provide essential resources for teachers and educators.

"From closing schools, to isolation, to a persistent feeling of fear and anxiety, effects of this pandemic are affecting children worldwide, "said Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF. “We need to come together and explore all the paths that allow us to keep children learning and to help them in this difficult time. With long-term partners like Microsoft, we were able to quickly implement innovative and scalable solutions for children and young people. Adaptations to the platform Learning Passport reminds us of what we can achieve together for children, as the crisis continues to deepen globally. ” - concludes.

According to the most recent data from UNESCO, 1.57 billion students were affected by the closure of schools in more than 190 countries worldwide.

The Learning Passport platform, which has been in development for 18 months, was scheduled to start as a pilot project this year. With the global pandemic and the closing of schools around the world, the program has experienced rapid expansion. Now, all countries that have a curriculum that can be taught online, will be able to do so.
Kosovo, Timor-Leste and Ukraine - who closed their schools' doors in recent weeks to help prevent virus transmission - they are the first to launch their online curriculum through the Learning Passport platform. The content available for school age children includes online books, videos and additional support for parents of children with learning difficulties.

"Just as the impact of COVID-19 is borderless, solutions must also not borders, as they require collaboration between the public and private sectors in order to ensure that all students continue to learn, "said Brad Smith, President of the Microsoft. "UNICEF's Learning Passport platform is positioned differently, and is a scalable solution that fills a gap in the digital education of millions students, and take their classrooms to their homes during the pandemic. "
The Learning Passport platform is an example of the way UNICEF partners with companies - through a shared values approach, where to create social value and responding to your challenges also makes good business sense.

The Learning Passport platform is part of the Generation Unlimited Global Breakthrough initiative on Education and Distance Work, with the aim of using technology to respond to the challenges of students, moderators and service providers education, particularly in humanitarian and conflict-affected contexts. THE Generation Unlimited is a global multi-sector partnership that aims to respond to the urgent needs for access to education, training and employment opportunities for young.

Notes to editors
Access the multimedia content here: https://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AM408XP2EHX


All references to Kosovo will be understood in the following context: UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).


About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) facilitates digital transformation, with the mission of help all people and organizations on the planet achieve more.


About Generation Unlimited
Generation Unlimited is a global partnership whose objective is to prepare young people to make citizens productive and interested. Connects between the secondary school and the preparation for employment and entrepreneurship, empowering all young people to be successful in the world of work.


About UNICEF
UNICEF works in some of the most difficult places in the world to reach the most vulnerable children disadvantaged. Present in 190 countries and territories, we work for all children, in anywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

UNICEF is the only UN organization that does not receive any funding from the United Nations, and depends entirely on voluntary contributions.
To learn more about UNICEF and its work for children, visit: www.unicef.pt

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