Dubai, UAE, 30 March 2020: Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has joined the UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition for COVID-19 Response to help countries find solutions for distance learning in order to minimize educational disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The global coalition, which is a multi-sector partnership, brings together international organizations, private sector and civil society to fast-track advice on technology, pedagogy and content to allow countries to set up digital learning solutions, in order to provide children and youth an alternative to school.
As a member of UNESCO's global Futures of Education initiative’s Advisory Board, Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares initiated strong advocacy to act in a unified, global manner in the face of COVID-19 during the board’s 12 March meeting. After the meeting, UNESCO’s leadership has been working collaboratively to design a powerful global platform to coordinate international efforts to ensure that learning is not disrupted as a result of this pandemic.
Commenting on the urgency of setting up UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition for COVID-19 Response to support distance learning practices around the world, Dr. Al Gurg said: “At a time when 87% of the world’s student population is affected by COVID-19 and as we witness large-scale school closures in order to stem the pandemic, finding alternative methods for children and youth to learn has become an urgent priority. The disruption to education we are witnessing today highlights the need for a global platform where all stakeholders, not only governments, collaborate to ensure the continuity of education. Dubai Cares remains at the forefront of providing quality education, either offline or online, for children and youth around the world. We are keen to support the establishment of this global coalition and mobilize our resources to ensure impact at the level of individual learners, especially children and youth living in low-income countries, whose educational attainment is already a challenge.”
According to UNESCO, the number of children, youth and adults not attending schools or universities because of COVID-19 is soaring. Governments all around the world have closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the global pandemic. Over 1.5 billion learners in 165 countries are affected by COVID-19 school closures impacting over 87% of world’s student population.
Multilateral partners, including the UN International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Telecommunication Union, as well as the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Education Cannot Wait, the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the Asian Development Bank have also joined the Coalition.
Dubai Cares among other philanthropic and non-profit organizations, including Khan Academy, Profuturo and Sesame Street have joined the Coalition, mobilizing their resources and services to support distance learning while schools remain shut.
In addition, the private sector and media outlets, including, Microsoft, GSMA, Weidong, Google, Facebook, Zoom, KPMG, Coursera and BBC have also joined the Coalition, contributing their vast online resources, content curation and their expertise around technology.