On 21-22 December 2015, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) took part in the International Forum for Partnerships on the Qingdao Declaration “Seize digital opportunities, lead education transformation”. The Forum was organized by UNESCO, the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Qingdao Municipal Government and the Shandong Provincial Government and held in Qingdao, China. The goals of the event were in line with the Qingdao Declaration that was adopted at the International Conference on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Post-2015 Education. The Qingdao Declaration furthered the commitments to ICT to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all; adopting Open Educational Resources, recognizing and scaling up online learning innovations as well as developing quality assurance and recognition of online learning. Through the Item 22 of the Qingdao Declaration, the global education community commits to reinforce the international cooperation in the field of ICT in education to ensure inclusive and equitable access to education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. It is against this context, UNESCO organized the International Forum aimed to formalize the global partnership for the operationalization of the Qingdao Declaration, identify main lines of action, and set up the operational strategies for cooperation.
The Forum gathered representatives of international and regional organizations, NGOs and IT companies that have been operating or supporting major ICT in education programmes. Officials of Ministry of Education of China, representatives of leading education institutions and interested partners in China attended the Forum as well. UNESCO IITE was represented by Ms. Elena Tarasova, Programme Assistant, Section of the Teacher Professional Development and Networking. She took part in all events of the forum, including a roundtable “Global partnership for leveraging ICT to achieve Education 2030”, and delivered a presentation on UNESCO IITE’s activities and projects aligned with the Qingdao Declaration.
The International Forum for Partnerships on the Qingdao Declaration served as a platform for its participants to meet potential key partners – members of the global alliance on leveraging ICT to achieve Education 2030, discuss prospects for cooperation and the mid-term action plan, including main lines of action, funding sources, and implementation strategies. As discussed at the Forum, a special attention should be paid to gender issues in two dimensions – increasing access to ICT in education for girls and women as well as promoting gender-responsive ICT and related projects.