On April 2nd 2020, Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology together with the International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI) and 11 partner higher education institutions (HEIs) in Africa and Asia-Pacific, and 3 HEIs and 8 high-tech enterprises in China co-launched the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) on cloud. The mission of IIOE is to harness the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance the access of developing countries to quality higher education.
As COVID-19 sweeps through many countries worldwide, schools in most countries are confronted with unprecedented challenges in education and teaching. Latest statistics from UNESCO show that, by March 26, a total of 138 countries suspended classes, affecting 1.37 billion students and 2 million teachers. UNESCO called for helping countries in mobilizing resources and implementing innovative and context-appropriate solutions to provide education remotely, by leveraging hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech approaches.
Funded by Tencent Charity Foundation, IIOE is an online learning platform integrating over 100 courses in English, French and Chinese, including discipline-related courses, TVET courses and teacher professional development courses. Under the guideline of UNESCO's "Education 2030 Agenda", IIOE aims to develop ICT-related competencies of teachers in the partner HEIs in developing countries, build the capacity of partner HEIs for blended and online learning, and provide online courses to create professional development opportunities for teachers in partner HEIs.
The online co-launch ceremony was hosted by UNESCO-ICHEI, the Secretariat of IIOE, and chaired by Prof. LIM Cher Ping, Chief Specialist of IIOE. Heads of partner HEIs and enterprises were invited to witness the launching. IIOE trilingual resource package, including the IIOE online learning platform, main document, monitoring and evaluation, training plan and entry mechanism, was released online at the ceremony.
During the event, LIU Jin, Chairperson of Party Committee of Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology, pointed out in her keynote speech that, "Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology has provided advanced IT professional courses to IIOE, and hopes that IIOE can empower partner institutions around the world to help more people have access to quality higher education".
Speech by LIU Jin, Chairperson of Party Committee of Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology
After IIOE has gone in full operations, series of training sessions will be introduced for partner HEIs in Asia Pacific and Africa, including regular training, advanced training and special training. In particular, a series of training programmes have been designed in order to help combat the COVID-19. On one hand, the training programme provides courses to enhance teachers' ICT capacities to facilitate online teaching and learning, which further helps to improve remote learning in their institution; on the other hand, lectures on public health and pandemic prevention and control will be introduced, disseminating effective measures and best practices to contain the COVID-19.
IIOE global partnership network