The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) seeks to build peace through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture.

Located on Place de Fontenoy, Paris, the main building housing the Headquarters of UNESCO was inaugurated on 3 November 1958. UNESCO has 193 member states and 11 associate members. In order to carry out its work, all member states have a National Commission for UNESCO. The Secretariat of the National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO was established in China’s Ministry of Education. There are many UNESCO clusters and regional offices around the world. The cluster office in Beijing is responsible for affairs relating to China, South Korea, Japan, North Korea, and Mongolia. UNESCO has four working networks, namely, the International Alliance for Inclusive and Sustainable Cities, the UNESCO Associated Schools Network, the Sustainable Development Education Network, and UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Network. UNESCO also has nine institutes: the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNEVOC), the Institute for Lifelong Learning (IIL), the International Bureau of Education (IBE), the International Institute for Capacity-Building in Africa (IICBA), the Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), the International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC), and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP).

On 25 September 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit was held at the UN headquarters in New York. At the summit, 193 UN member states formally adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for guiding global development work. The SDGs aim to solve the problems of social, economic, and environmental development in an integrated way from 2015 to 2030. UNESCO projects will contribute to the achievement of these sustainable development goals. The 17 SDGs are: 1. No poverty; 2. Zero hunger; 3. Good health and well-being; 4. Quality education; 5. Gender equality; 6. Clean water and sanitation; 7. Affordable and clean energy; 8. Decent work and economic growth; 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure; 10. Reduced Inequalities; 11. Sustainable cities and communities; 12. Responsible consumption and production; 13. Climate action; 14. Life below water; 15. Life on land; 16. Peace, justice and strong institutions; 17. Partnerships
Official website of UNESCO:

On 19 May 2020, the OUC and UNESCO signed a memorandum of understanding, marking the start of an official cooperation partnership between the two sides.


Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the OUC has actively responded to UNESCO’s “Combat COVID-19: Keep learning. Together we are on the move!” initiative, offering online education resources to countries and students in need. It has provided free high-quality course resources in both English and Chinese to the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, covering areas including scientific epidemic prevention, higher education, vocational education, social training, language learning, and nature and science.

Please refer to the following URL for details:

In order to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teachers and students in Africa, and at the invitation of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), and the UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED), the OUC has taken part in the construction of course resources to assist Africa in increasing the online teaching capacity construction of teachers from kindergartens to senior middle schools.

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A practical case study of OUC students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Guidance on Learning and Development for Children Aged 3-16, was included in the Guidance on Open Educational Practices during School Closure: Utilising OER during the COVID-19 Pandemic in line with UNESCO OER Recommendation, which was released on the UNESCO portal on 18 May 2020. See the link below for the full text of the Guidance:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a case study about Liu Xiaobao, a disabled student at the OUC, entitled Live up to the Good Times: Learning Continues during School Closures was included in the UNESCO manual, Guidance on Providing Open and Distance Learning for Students with Disabilities during School Closures: Enhancing Inclusive Learning under COVID-19.


The Open University of China (OUC) has offered high-quality learning resources to the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (hereinafter referred to as IITE) website in order to help learners around the world with “home-based online learning.”

Recently, the OUC actively responded to the UNESCO home-based online learning initiative, providing online learning resources to learners around the world and recommending experts to share online learning experiences, in an effort to reduce the impact of the pandemic on learning and education.

According to data released today by UNESCO, as of 10 March, 2020, more than 180 countries have been affected by the pandemic. Of these, 15 countries have ordered nationwide school closures and 14 have implemented localised school closures, spanning countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. The crisis is now impacting close to 363 million learners worldwide, including 57.8 million students in higher education.

In response to the above situation, UNESCO held a video conference for global higher education officials on 10 March 2020 to explore ways to strengthen the emergency response and share strategies to minimise the impact of the pandemic on learning. Ministers and vice ministers of education and high-level officials from 72 countries, including China, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, attended the conference. Since then, IITE kicked off the initiative "Combating COVID-19:Together We Are On The Move!”, with the aim of building an exchange platform for educational technology experts, government officials, schools, teachers, and students in countries affected by the outbreak and share practical experience.

As recommended by the National Commission of China for UNESCO, the OUC has become one of the initiative’s major cooperative universities, providing high-quality online learning resources covering scientific epidemic prevention, education at higher, vocational, primary and secondary levels, social training, and language learning to learners around the world. The OUC has also put forward Professor Li Song from the Faculty of Education and Associate Professor Wang Ran from the Learning Resources Department to serve as educational information technology experts on the IITE expert group, sharing their experiences of "suspending classes without stopping teaching and learning" in the field of higher education from the perspective of online education, including online teaching organisation, design, and implementation, as well as social services regarding learning resources during the pandemic. In the future, the OUC will continue to provide IITE with more online education resources, in particular, curriculum resources in English or other languages, and carry out further research, exchange and cooperation activities according to the current situation.

To find out more information about how IITE is contributing to the international fight against the pandemic, please visit the IITE website: