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vCASIE 2020: UIL webinar explores the potential of ICT for lifelong learning in rural Central Asia


© Oberholster Venita from Pixabay
22 October 2020

On 7 October 2020, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) together with the UNESCO Bangkok and Almaty offices, organized a webinar: ‘Open and distance education to promote learning and skills development throughout life’. It was the second webinar of the series in the (virtual) Central Asia Symposium on ICT in Education (vCASIE) 2020, supported by the Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS).

The UIL webinar explored the potential of ICTs to support and promote lifelong learning in Central Asia, reviewed existing gaps, and highlighted important lessons from promising initiatives. In his opening remarks, UIL Director David Atchoarena drew attention to the increased broadband connectivity and the commendable progress in educational attainment in the region. In order to leverage these strengths, and to turn the current COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity, he stressed the need for data on adult and non-formal education, innovative pedagogy, and greater efforts to bridge the gap between rural and urban learners. Moreover, to ensure the success of open and distance learning, Mr Atchoarena called for increased capacity-building of educators.

Speakers at the webinar presented promising policies and practices in harnessing the potential of open and distance learning to promote inclusive lifelong learning for all within and beyond the sub-region. Presentations about addressing digital competence challenges through DigComp and related European digital competence frameworks and tools (European Training Foundation), digital solutions to intergenerational learning to safeguard intangible cultural heritage in Kazakhstan (Samsung), and skills development for rural populations in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (DVV International) set the stage for enriched discussions on closing the rural and urban access gap. The importance of data in creating and monitoring effective policies and the critical role of educators in implementing innovative and inclusive pedagogy beyond digital literacy were the key takeaways from the webinar.


Addressing digital competence challenges through DigComp and related European digital competence frameworks and tools (Mr Alessandro Brolpito, Senior Specialist in Digital Skills and Learning, European Training Foundation) (Eng), (Rus)

Digital education to enable young potential in Kazakhstan (Ms Ji-Hyun Yoon, Samsung Electronics) (Eng), (Rus)

Skills development programme for rural populations in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (Ms Dr Thekla Kelbert, DVV International Regional Director for Central Asia) (Eng), (Rus)

Webinar 2 Recordings: (Eng), (Rus)


The CASIE symposium, initiated in 2011, provides a platform for the Central Asian Member States to deliberate on potential digital solutions and foster regional partnerships. The theme of this year’s CASIE, ‘ICT-enabled skills development in rural and remote areas impacted by COVID-19 in Central Asia and beyond’, is particularly pertinent for Central Asia, where more than half of total population resides in rural areas. The event was held digitally to comply with restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Webinar 3 (23 October 2020): “Quality OER contents for skills development”. Registration is open for interested participants.