UIL highlights the need for digital inclusion and global solidarity in Korea EdTech Forum 2020
On 8 September 2020, the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (UIL), together with the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education and the Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS), co-organized a virtual policy forum during the EdTech Korea Fair 2020. Hosted by the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Education, the forum convened 28 high-level officials from education ministries in 22 countries.
Under the overall theme ‘EdTtech, Education Digital Transformation’, the forum facilitated dialogue, the exchange of ideas, and promising practices on the future of innovative schooling, the instrumental role of information and communication technology (ICT) in education, and on promoting inclusive lifelong learning pathways.
Referring to the COVID-19 education crisis, UIL Director David Atchoarena, in his welcoming remarks, urged educators to ‘seize this forced opportunity and turn this crisis into a deep transformation in education’. He set the premise of the forum by drawing attention to three factors which are key for educational transformation: digital accessibility for all, community and family support for lifelong learners, and strong global solidarity.
During the following sessions, Mr Fengchun Miao, Head of the ICT in Education team at UNESCO introduced UNESCO’s guiding frameworks for effective distance learning and technology-enabled open school systems This was followed by a panel discussion on digital inclusion and equity to support marginalized learners, moderated by UIL’s Team Leader for Policy and Capacity Development, Ms Rakhat Zholdoshalieva. The session brought together diverse experiences from around the world, including an analysis of 30 case studies wherein ICT is used to support the learning of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons (Ms Jonghwi Park, UIL); basic skills development for adults and challenges and measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic at the German Adult Education Association (Ms Celia Sokolowsky, DVV); and local government efforts to ensure equal ICT access for marginalized students during pandemic-imposed homeschooling (Ms Un Jo Lee, Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education). The presentations successfully provided a venue to collectively deliberate on digital inclusion and share ideas and resources to support the most vulnerable populations.
Throughout the four-day forum, more than 3,500 registered participants from across the globe attended the various sessions.