In the light of COVID-19 crisis many students from different parts of the world faced unprecedented challenges of continuing of learning during school closure. At the same time, learners with disabilities, who even before the pandemic had been at considerable risk of exclusion, encountered more obstacles for equitable participation in uninterrupted education. To address this issue, UNESCO IITE has invited a group of experts to share solutions, real practices and resources in order to equip the vulnerable group of students, their parents and teachers with tools for sustainable learning.
The Breakout Session
The Breakout Session “From something on mind to something in kind: EdTech for inclusive change in education” held within the Mobile Learning Week 2020 on 14 October 2020 gathered more than 90 attendants. The core idea of the Session was how technology can support the inclusive education. In this regard, the experts panel addressed the following scope of concerns:
- Raising awareness of the pandemic’s impact on persons with disabilities and their rights;
- Reflecting and responding to the various intersecting problems faced by persons with disabilities and special needs.
- Providing resources for ensuring rights-based COVID-19 response measures for persons with disabilities.
- Drawing attention to the successful inclusive distance learning practices around the world;
- Defining necessary and sufficient policy measures to support rebuilding more inclusive, flexible and efficient education systems;
- Specifying rights-based measures to ensure psychological safety and digital security of learners with disabilities and special needs;
- Identifying key short- and medium-term actions for stakeholders.
Furthermore, the invited specialists emphasized the increased significance and role of parental involvement into educational process. Additionally, they highlighted that the maintenance of mental health of learners with disabilities during the pandemic and the necessity of providing timely and adequate support to teachers are of great importance.
The event concluded with Question and Answer Session, which engaged experts in the further discussion on the role of a teacher in the actualization of inclusive education in post COVID-19 time. The audience also desired to get the understanding of how a teacher can help the parents to guide their children with special needs.
Invited speakers and their presentations
- Mr. Dhruv Patel, Founder and CEO, Nisai Group, UK
- Mr. Renato Opertti, Senior Consultant, IBE-UNESCO, Uruguay
- Mr. Brian Itai Mutimbanyoka, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Botswana
- Prof. Hong Wang, Vice President of Shanghai Open University, China
- Ms. Yulia Sachko, vice director of the department of the state policy in the area of children’s rights defence, head of the unit of education of children with special needs, Ministry of education of the Russian Federation
Special guest: Mr.Yao Ydo, Interim Director of UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO)
Moderator: Ms. Natalia Amelina, Senior National Project Officer in Education, Chief of Unit of Teacher Professional Development and Networking, UNESCO IITE
The recording of the Breakout Session is available on the UNESCO IITE YouTube channel.