David Atchoarena is the Director of the Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems at UNESCO. His Division covers, among other areas, ICT in Education and hosts a dedicated programme on mobile learning.
To date UNESCO has published over 15 papers on mobile learning, including global and regional reviews of mobile learning initiatives as well as scans of projects that leverage mobile technology for teacher development. The UNESCO Policy Guidelines for Mobile Learning is a flagship publication that was produced with input from a diverse set of stakeholders, including over 15 UNESCO Member States. First released in 2013, the Guidelines describe the unique educational advantages of mobile technology and articulate strategies to build enabling policy environments in which these advantages can take root and grow.
Recently, Mr. Atchoarena’s Division has been investigating how mobile services can advance literacy. Findings from a year-long study on the habits, beliefs and demographic profiles of mobile readers in developing countries were published earlier this year in a book called Reading in the Mobile Era. The book points to strategies to expand mobile reading and, by extension, the socio-economic benefits associated with increased reading.
In parallel with its research, policy and knowledge-sharing work, Mr. Atchoarena’s Division oversees mobile learning field projects in Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan and Senegal. Each country project employs a different approach to support the work of teachers. The projects have expanded the knowledge base of how mobile technology can be leveraged to make teachers more effective. The UNESCO service in Nigeria which seeks to build the capacity of English language teachers has reached over 70,000 users after just one year of operation.
Mr. Atchoarena’s Division also hosts an annual conference called Mobile Learning Week. The event attracts education leaders and practitioners from around the world. Mobile Learning Week 2015 will be hosted in partnership with UN Women to explore how mobile technology can empower women and girls.
Before joining UNESCO Headquarters, Mr. Atchoarena worked at the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning. At the Institute, he contributed to develop the capacities of officials from Ministries of Education as the head of the Training and Education Programmes Unit.
Prior to working for UNESCO, Mr. Atchoarena served as Chargé de Mission at the National Agency for Lifelong Education in the French Ministry of Education and as a project coordinator in the Ministry of Finance and Planning in Saint Lucia.
Mr. Atchoarena is a Special Professor at the University of Nottingham (UK) and holds a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne.