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February 2021


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     Dear Partners, 


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                              Description automatically generatedI hope you are healthy, safe and well.


It has been close to a year now since the Global Education Coalition (GEC) was launched in response to the historic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Today this disruption continues, with two-thirds of the student population still affected by partial or full school and university closures. We are gradually shifting from an emergency mode to a sustained one focused on building education systems that are more inclusive, innovative and resilient to shock. This is the best investment any country can make in a more sustainable and prosperous future.


The GEC has been a force for innovation and partnership as our most recent progress report details. We are determined that it remain so. Since our UN General Assembly side event last 25 September, GEC members have shared their perspectives in global events such as World Teachers' Day, Mobile Learning Week, the Global Education Meeting and the International Day of Education. Most importantly, their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are becoming more integrated in ambitious flagships and missions to support teachers, educators and learners, strengthen education systems and equip youth with employability skills.


Through this monthly newsletter, we aim to share information on your engagement and encourage fertile exchange. You will find a featured project each month, a section showcasing research underway by members, forthcoming events and a social media pack that you are welcome to share on your channels.


We welcome your suggestions and contributions, and thank you for your steadfast commitment to ensure that #LearningNeverStops.


Best wishes,

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education


     Featured projects



Translate a Story in short

12 partners, including multiple GEC members and UN agencies 


1,266 volunteers


6,614 books translated


100+ languages now available to children which previously were not 


7 countries participating in the pilot


     Translate a Story

Translate a Story: Maternal language book translation to promote early age reading


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The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for early grade reading resources in languages that children mostly use at home. In response, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), UNHCR, The Global Book Alliance, Verizon, The Global Digital Library, Pratham Books' StoryWeaver, The Asia Foundation's Let's Read initiative, African Storybook, Learning Equality, Creative Commons, and UNESCO established the Translate a Story initiative to help organise the translation of openly licensed high-quality early grade reading books into national languages last year. 


Translation webinars were conducted for translators, which included 1,266 volunteers. These volunteers joined the organisers in translating 6,614 books into more than 100 languages to ensure children were able to access the books they need to continue learning. All translated books are freely available to share with education stakeholders. Seven countries are participating in the pilot: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, Tonga and Uzbekistan.


Anyone who can write in English and another language can join this initiative, which remains ongoing. Education ministries, teachers, donor missions, non-governmental organizations, technology companies, parents and others who can reach children with digital reading resources are in particular encouraged to take part. To learn more and help ensure #LearningNeverStops regardless of a child's mother tongue, please visit the project website here.



World Food Programme (WFP) & UNICEF

WFP & UNICEF: Partnering with governments to ensure adequate health and nutrition for students upon school reopening


During COVID-19 school closures, children were not only deprived of their education, but in some instances -especially among the poorest - they were also deprived of vital nutrition and health support which allows them to learn.  


Globally, about 370 million girls and boys have missed 40 percent of in-school meals, on average, since COVID-19 restrictions shuttered classrooms. More than 39 billion in-school meals have been missed globally, according to a new report released by the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti and WFP.


School meals and essential nutrition services are not only vital in ensuring children's nutrition, growth and development, they also provide a strong incentive for children to return to school once restrictions are lifted. The longer children are out of school, the greater the risk that they will drop out of education altogether. While planning the safe re-opening of schools, leaders have the opportunity to use this crisis to build more inclusive, efficient, and resilient education systems.


Under the GEC, WFP and UNICEF have scaled up their partnership and are supporting governments with the safe reopening of school while making sure that the health, food and nutritional needs of children are met to ensure a whole generation of the most vulnerable children are not left behind. 


UNESCO & Various GEC Partners

UNESCO & Various Partners: Improving the quality of distance education in French-speaking Africa


The French-speaking African regional platform imaginecole.africa was presented publicly on December 21, 2020. It is the key component of a Global Partnership for Education (GPE) project to improve the quality of distance education in Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo. 


ImaginEcole offers a large-scale experience in distance education for 6.6 million students and 200,000 teachers, in the ten participating countries. It already numbers over 600 educational resources, ranging from high-quality educational videos and interactive lessons to downloadable printouts. It covers a comprehensive emergency response for learning both in connected and disconnected locations. 


ImaginEcole will be enriched in the coming months with locally produced content by teams that will have their skills improved by UNESCO and GEC partners. 


GEC Gender Flagship: Keeping Girls in the Picture