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International group partners UNESCO, World Bank, others on online learning for school children


As part of efforts to boost learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new initiative involving the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the World Bank and over 40 other organisations and institutions have been launched to aid distance and online learning among students.

Already, over 1.5 billion learners are not attending schools due to the unprecedented impact of coronavirus on teaching and learning.

Worried by the development, a non-governmental organisation, Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has launched the international partnership of distance and online learning for COVID-19 to bring together institutions and organisations committed to supporting learning at this time of crisis.

COL was created by commonwealth heads of government to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies.


Hosted by the government of Canada, COL is the world’s only intergovernmental organisation solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning.
Launching the partnership, COL president and chief executive officer, Prof Asha Kanwar said, “COL is standing with all our stakeholders – governments, educational institutions, teachers, learners and parents during these times of crisis. We need concrete action on the ground to help teachers and students to continue the teaching-learning process without disruption.

“This is not a time for planning but for action. Let us pool our expertise and resources to ensure that the doors of education remain open for all.” Appreciating the support received from the ODL community and development partners, she said, “The response from our partners is overwhelming and we thank each one of them for their commitment and support.”

A statement by the stakeholders’ relations manager, Natalia Angheli-Zaicenco said keeping the doors of learning open during this crisis is the responsibility of all stakeholders in education. Over the last fifty years, open and distance education institutions have offered quality teaching and learning at a distance using a range of technologies – print, radio, television, computer and the Internet. New developments in web technologies and increasing access to mobile applications open new possibilities.


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