IGF 2020 WS #107 Educational Opportunities & Challenges in Times of Crisis

Tuesday, 10th November, 2020 (14:10 UTC) - Tuesday, 10th November, 2020 (15:40 UTC)
Room 2
About this Session
The session will have an interactive format.

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Organizer 4: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 5: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Speaker 1: Alfredo Calderon, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Sona Baghiyan, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Gloria Alaneme, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Tel Amiel, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Glenn McKnight, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 6: Thiago Moraes, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Break-out Group Discussions - Round Tables - 60 Min

Online duration reset to 60 minutes.
Policy Question(s)

1. What are the existing digital strategies and policies that are helping people become more prepared and equipped in times of global crisis: to protect individuals and their devices from cybercrime, learn to manage privacy and protect personal data, create and co-create digital content. 

2. Is online education inclusive? How do we ensure that not only certain populations gain from online teaching and learning opportunities presented by educational institutions? How to reach students with lower incomes who don't have enough access to the Internet? 

3. How do we ensure necessary cyber-defense, digital literacy and other skill-sets are taught to ensure people are protected from cybercrime, know how to manage their privacy and protect their data, capable of creating and co-creating content? 

4. What responsibilities should the state, business and civil society actors assume to promote quality education during and after the global health crisis? How can institutions provide better infrastructure for teachers and students? 

5. How to tackle different educational needs (basic vs. superior, students with special needs, etc) and different learning curves (e.g. younger vs. older people, people with disabilities, etc)? Should all fields of study use the same approaches and  how the differences should be tackled?

What impact the COVID-19 crisis will have on education and what will be the long-term consequences for the affected institutions, educational community and the public at-large?

Has this digital transformation in the education sector worsen inequality and polarization in our societies? 

What digital strategies and policies should be implemented to mitigate these negative impacts?


GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Proposal for a Merged Sessions WS 107: Education Opportunities & Challenges in Times of Crisis, WS 248: eLearning: How  to Tackle Accessibility Challenges Online.

Proposed New Headline: COVID19 and Education: How to Mitigate Knowledge Divides when Learning Turns Online

The recent crisis has necessitated of moving teaching and learning online at an unprecedented scale,    causing more than 1.6 billion children and youth to be out of school in 191 countries, which is equal to 80 percent of the world's enrolled students, as well as 63 million primary and secondary teachers.

As experts estimate, the global lockdown of education institutions is going to cause major and probably uneven interruption in students’ learning. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed that most countries have very unequal education systems, and the negative impacts will be felt disproportionately by children from poor and rich families, children with disabilities. Millions of households either do not have access to broadband networks or can’t afford service, being cut off from educational opportunities and deprived of their right to free or accessible education.  

According to UNESCO data, school closures negatively impact student learning outcomes, too. The disadvantages are especially disproportionate for under-privileged learners who tend to have fewer educational opportunities beyond school. During the lockdown, parents generally are asked to facilitate the learning of children at home and often struggle to perform this task. This is especially true for parents with limited education and resources. 

Though the use of distance learning programmes and open educational resources or platforms can mitigate the disruption of education, yet intensify other problems, such as hacking and cybercrime. 

Lack of access to technology and unequal access to educational resources can prevent students, particularly in rural areas or from disadvantaged or low economic status families, to benefit from online education. This can deepen and amplify existing inequalities, widen polarization and knowledge divide, impeding to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

Expected Outcomes

1. Participants will propose a set of recommendations to state, business and civil society actors to promote quality education for all in the face of challenges posed by the global health crisis. 

2. Participants will also discuss a set of recommendations about proper skill-sets needed to be taught at various levels from elementary to high school, from high schools to university level and above, within formal and informal educational settings to be equipped in times of global crisis and take advantage of online learning opportunities: to protect individuals and their devices from cybercrime, manage privacy, protect personal data, create and co-create digital content.

3. The speakers will also discuss the best practices in various countries regarding the selection of the most relevant technological solutions (digital learning platforms, appropriate learning methodologies, video lessons, MOOCs, broadcasting through radios and TVs), measures to ensure inclusion of the distance learning programmes, strategies to protect data privacy and data security; solutions to address socio-psychological challenges (tools to connect schools, parents, teachers, and students with each other), provide support to teachers and parents on the use of digital tools, monitor students’ learning process, create and enhance communities (between teachers, parents, school managers, etc).

We are planning to have a break-out round-table session with 6 active speakers. The moderator opens the discussion and introduces the topic and the speakers. After that, each panelist has 7 minutes for presentations. Then, the moderator will invite all participants of the workshop to speak, make comments and ask questions. The moderator will ask questions to panel and call participants to share their experiences related to any of the issues discussed. Then the panelists will use the rest of the time to answer the questions. At the end, concluding comments and summary will be delivered by Rapporteur.

Onsite and remote moderators will ensure that the debate is rich, diverse and balanced. Remote participation will be promoted in advance through outreach activities. Online Moderator will engage remote participants and coordinate with the main moderator to include comments and questions, trying to equally distribute remote and local participation of the speakers and the audience. Social networks  will be used to engage with the audience, while official communication will be channeled through specific mailing lists.  

I. Relevance of education to digital policies and multifaceted Internet Governance is reflected in various academic papers and demonstrated in practice in many countries of the world. The Internet and ICTs are transforming our society into a knowledge society, enabling economic growth, as well as social, cultural and democratic development. ICTs are commonly recognised as empowering tools fostering inclusion, promoting greater participation of people, improving education, etc. However, without proper strategies only those who are in advantageous positions are able gain from opportunities opened by ICTs. Therefore, development of policies, emphasizing the importance of relevant skill-sets are crucial for technology and ICTs being able to play the role of enablers and catalysts of inclusive and sustainable growth. States, business and civil society actors need to assume responsibilities to elaborate and promote those digital policies and strategies in the field of education and ICTs. 

II. We believe that the issue of education disruption and knowledge divide should be approached from different angles: technological, societal and humanitarian. Roles and responsibilities of various actors: state, business and civil society to promote quality education during and after the global health crisis should be discussed and  analyzed. Issues should be viewed through global and community lenses: while some challenges are macro (such as infrastructure), others require a case-by-case or a community-based approach.

III. The Covid-19 is both a crisis and an opportunity for Schools of Internet Governance, as we move to a strictly remote learning via online platforms. Schools of Internet Governance around the world have historically been face-to-face meetings with events spanning from a single day to a full week programme. Given the social distancing issues and ban on travel we are seeing cancellation of many of the events, as well as major efforts by various players in the Internet Governance space, such as national and regional IGFs, ICANN, ARIN, NANOG and others, to move towards online meetings for the remaining year.


Relevance to Theme: Our focus is on Inclusion and our efforts are to showcase how we can achieve an equitable and inclusive education. In particular interest for our session is how it relates to the SDG #4 Quality Education and its mirrored in the Thematic Track items Accessibility & Policy for Social Inclusion Digital Literacy, Capacity Development, & Future of work.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool.



10 November, 14:10-15:40 UTC