Garowe, Somalia 20 July 2020 – As schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, UNICEF and the Government of Puntland in Somalia have launched the Learning Passport, a digital remote learning platform where children can access educational content both online and offline from their homes. The Learning Passport is a ground-breaking partnership between UNICEF, Microsoft and the University of Cambridge.
“Puntland is leading the way in Africa in adopting the Learning Passport,” Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan Puntland Minister of Education and Higher Education. “Children will be able to access high quality lessons in line with the official curriculum and not become the hidden victims of the COVID-19 crisis by missing out on an education.”
At this initial stage of the rollout, over 11,000 children, almost half of them girls, are able to access over 600 recorded lessons and videos for Grade 8 students, with already 12 subjects uploaded. It can be accessed using a computer or through a mobile application. More lessons are under development and will be uploaded onto the Learning Passport to enable all primary and secondary students have access to this innovative learning platform. Teachers will be able to monitor children’s progress and parents can also access learning materials so they can play a critical role in supporting their children’s education. The Learning Passport will help to drive learning outcome improvement.
“The Learning Passport is a changemaker when it comes to remote learning,” said Phuong T. Nguyen, UNICEF Somalia Chief of Education. “In any emergency, maintaining a child’s education is critical to provide a sense of security and routine and keep children safe. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, school closures were a necessary measure but due to today’s technology, this did not mean their education had to stop.”
Even when schools open, the Learning Passport will continue to support children with additional learning opportunities beyond their daily school routine. It will also be made available for the most vulnerable children who are internally displaced and have no access to learning centers or other remote educational opportunities.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Puntland has become the first ministry of education from Africa to adapt the Learning Passport platform for the dissemination of their curriculum to reach out more children. We congratulate the leadership of the ministry for their commitment to providing access to education to all children this remarkable initiative.