By Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and UNICEF have launched the Learning Passport in Zimbabwe to address the challenges faced by millions of children and youth worldwide to access continued, quality education in times of crisis and when access is limited to traditional learning.
“It is a new solution designed to close the learning gap, a tech platform enabling high quality, flexible learning,” said Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Zimbabwe Representative. “The Learning Passport is a key innovation meant to enhance learning pathways, while providing critical continuous access to quality education,” she said.
Originally designed to provide education for displaced and refugee children through a digital remote learning platform, the Learning Passport is a collaboration between UNICEF and Microsoft and is expanding to more countries and offers country-level curriculum for children and youth.
It is reported that its launch in Zimbabwe comes at a crucial time when over 4.6 million learners in Zimbabwe have been out of school for extended periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Learning Passport has arrived when Government has launched its National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) which focuses on initiatives around inclusive education as well as innovative technologies that support alternative learning approaches from Early Childhood Development upward,” said the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, N.C.G Mathema.
“As such, the Learning Passport in Zimbabwe will support the implementation of the NDS1 as well as go a long way in supporting the catch-up strategy for the formal school curriculum,” he said.
In Zimbabwe the new education curriculum emphasizes competences that include information and communication technology, and computer assisted learning. The Zimbabwe Learning Passport contains a digital library of teaching and learning resources from the national curriculum as well as open education resources from a wide range of partners, mapped to complement the local curriculum.
“Access to education and quality learning materials is particularly critical in light of the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ms. Moshiri. “The Learning Passport is grounded in UNICEF’s wide-reaching support to strengthening education around the world and this partnership with the public and private sectors sees a leader such as Microsoft providing the technology and innovative platform to do so.
John Edokpolo, Corporate External Legal Affairs Lead of Middle East & Africa -Multi Country Cluster, Microsoft said, “The Learning Passport creates a unique opportunity for young people to continue their studies regardless of their location or where they are on their education journey.”