Bridging Educational Gaps through Inclusive Innovation

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This news was originally posted on UNESCO website, on May 14, 2024.

A joint exhibition by UNESCO and UNESCAP at the 80th Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific supports digital innovation in education.

Education is a fundamental right that should be available to all, regardless of their background, abilities, or circumstances. Recognizing this, UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok (UNESCO Bangkok), together with UNESCAP Subregional office for SEA, made a significant impact at the Digital Innovations Fair held during the Eightieth Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) from 22 to 26 April 2024. A joint exhibition booth by UNESCO and UNESCAP for the Fair highlighted the crucial role of equity and inclusion in education. Under the theme, ‘Leveraging digital innovation for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific’, the booth showcased innovative solutions aimed at addressing the identified needs of disadvantaged and marginalized learners in the region. 

The joint UNESCO-UNESCAP exhibition booth served as a reminder that quality education goes beyond mere access; moreover, it encompasses equity and inclusion considerations in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), Target 5, which aims to ensure equal access at all levels of education. For learners facing various challenges such as disabilities or originating from non-dominant language groups, the path to education can be lined with obstacles. In this regard, UNESCO underscored that addressing these challenges is critical for sustainable development and the transformation of education systems in Asia-Pacific.

One of the innovations showcased at the booth, by Professor Hideki Kozima, of Tohoku University, stood out as an example of leveraging technology for equitable and inclusive education, particularly for children with developmental delays and learning disabilities. Visitors to the booth were met by ‘Keepon’, a diminutive robot designed to facilitate natural, nonverbal interactions with children across different developmental stages. By providing a platform for engagement and learning, Keepon ‘bridged the gap’ for children who may struggle with conventional teaching methodologies due to a child’s physical, mental, or social limitations.

Other highlights of the exhibition booth were the multilingual literacy platforms Bloom Library and Keyman, which were represented at the Fair by SIL International, an institutional member of the Asia-Pacific Working Group on Multilingual Education. These open-access literacy resources represented by SIL testified to the power of educational technology in serving ethnolinguistic minority children. Keyman’s foundational keyboarding technology enables minority languages to participate in our digital world. In a ‘super diverse’ region like Asia-Pacific, where linguistic diversity is the norm, Bloom offers an easy way to author, translate and distribute digital books and digital resources to ensure that every child has access to materials in their language. This not only enhances their learning experience but also preserves and celebrates tradition and cultural heritage.

The exhibition presence at the Fair of UNESCO and UNESCAP reaffirmed the organizations’ commitment to promoting inclusive and equitable education and transforming education through digital innovation. In keeping with the 2030 Agenda, the two organization sought to catalyze sustainable development efforts regionally towards ensuring that no learner shall be left behind.

For more information on UNESCO’s support of digital innovation in education:

#InclusiveEducation #Equity&InclusionInEducation #ICTinEducation

By Catherine Wilczek, Associate Project Officer, Education Section, UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok


Key Area
Inclusive Education
inclusive technologies

East Asia & Pacific

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