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From Radio to Artificial Intelligence: Innovative Literacy Learning and Education for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons

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Globally, almost 70.8 million people were forced from their homes in mid-2019 (UNHCR, 2019). Among them, 41.3 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 25.9 million are refugees, and over half are under 18 years old.[1] According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), these numbers are persistently growing.

Refugees, migrants and IDPs face many challenges; among these is access to meaningful opportunities for the acquisition of literacy skills and other knowledge, skills and competencies, which is vital for their survival, social integration, economic empowerment and personal well-being. Displaced girls and women in particular are more likely to miss out these opportunities due to safety concerns and social norms.[2]. Would digital technologies help address this issue? How can both low- and high-tech solutions meet the needs of these vulnerable groups to continue their learning?

Supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), UNESCO Headquarters and  the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) will launch a global landscape study in April 2020, entitled ‘From Radio to Artificial Intelligence: Innovative Literacy Learning and Education for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons’. The purpose of this study is to explore and document effective policies, measures and practices of using technologies to support literacy learning and skills development of refugees, migrants and IDPs. It will examine promising cases around the globe at system, institutional and programme levels and draw evidence-based policy recommendations for those who plan to design a holistic educational intervention for these vulnerable populations. With the call for cases in May 2020, the study report is expected to be published in early 2021.

Call for cases: Innovative Literacy Learning and Education for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (deadline 29 May 2020)



[1] UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency). 2018. Figure at a glance: Forcibly displaced people worldwide [dedicated webpage]. Available at: https://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html [Accessed 13 March 2020].

[2] UNESCO. 2019. Global Education Monitoring Report: Gender Report – Building bridges for gender gaps. Paris, UNESCO. Available at: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000368753/PDF/368753eng.pdf.multi [Accessed 22 April 2020]