The Record - Issue 17: Summer 2020

117 education aid for refugee children, so that all countries with a curriculum that can be taught online can provide education to students from their homes. “Just as Covid-19’s impact has no borders, its solutions must not have borders, as it requires the collaboration across public and private sectors to ensure every student stays engaged and continues learning,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, in an article “Unicef ’s Learning Passport is uniquely positioned as a scalable learn- ing solution to bridge the digital learning gap for millions of students to bring their classroom into their home during the pandemic.” The Microsoft Education Transformation Summit brought education leaders together to share ideas on how to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on education, but also how the large-scale disruption could accelerate trans- formation in the sector. Among the speakers was Stefania Giannini, assistant director general of Unesco, who discussed the work that Microsoft has been doing with the organisation and the new Global Education Coalition for Covid-19 Response – an initiative that aims to provide chil- dren with learning opportunities during this time. “1.5 billion students were out of school because of the coronavirus,” said Giannini. “No govern- ment was actually prepared for such a disruption – we had to act differently and fast, and collabo- ration was the only answer. “The Global Education Coalition is all about partnership and agility. Our main purpose is to ensure that learning must continue – learning never stops.” Participants agreed that education will be dif- ferent from now. In fact, a survey found that 61 per cent of the Microsoft Education community expect to begin the next school year in a hybrid learning environment, and Barbara Holzapfel, Microsoft general manager of education, high- lighted “the continued use of digital tools for remote and hybrid learning” in a Microsoft blog after the event. Nadella concluded: “The core priority of edu- cation reform moving forward must be to create accessible education for all. The beauty of tech- nology is that it can facilitate activity and equity, and be helpful in accommodating the variety of ways we learn.” “Our main purpose is to ensure that learning must continue – learning never stops” S T E FAN I A G I ANN I N I , UNE S CO  PUB L I C S E C TOR