15-country study maps out tech solutions to meet refugee education needs

By Jillian Slutzker

May 16, 2016

A new 15-country study unveils the most up-to-date research and best practices for technology solutions to meet the education needs of the world’s refugee and internally displaced children and youth.

IDP and refugee children may lack access to formal schooling due to geography, language or financial barriers, cultural stigma or school overcrowding, or may be suffering from psychosocial trauma.

Overcoming these barriers with tailored information and communications technology for education (ICT4E) solution is the focus of The Landscape Review of Technology for Refugee and IDP Education, commissioned by Creative Associates International and its partners All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development—a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development, World Vision, and the Australian Government—Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the mEducation Alliance.

“Where schools are inaccessible, for a variety of reason, education technology solutions can help counter learning loss and keep children on track so they can rebound more quickly and succeed educationally during and after conflict,” says Eileen St. George, Director of Education in Conflict at Creative.

Nearly half of the world’s 50 million people displaced people are under 18 years old, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Globally, one out of three out-of-school children of primary school age lives in a conflict zone.

To learn more, join the May 18 Webinar: Education and forced displacement – How can technology make a difference? Click here for more information.

Mapping context, challenges and best practices for design

Highlighting case studies from Jordan, Kenya, Pakistan South Sudan and elsewhere, the study maps out the context and complex challenges for addressing refugee and IDP education needs—available for policymakers, practitioners and donors in self-paced modules through the e-learning platform CreativeU.

The research also illustrates examples of successful ICT4E interventions and provides a step-by-step framework for designing effective ICT4E programs  that are culturally relevant, sustainable, and respond to the particular educational and psychosocial learning needs of population across a spectrum from low technology to high technology environments.

“Solutions will succeed in meeting the needs of these learners only if they are adapted to the technology and cultural context,” says Ayan Kishore, Senior Associate for Technology for Development at Creative.  “We can’t use a smartphone application where people only have access to radio. In program design, we have to consider power sources, available technology, bandwidth and other resource factors when ascertaining what our best tools will be.”

In addition to picking the right tech tools, program content should also be tailored to the learning and psychosocial needs of the targeted group of learners, adds St. George.

“Our programs and curriculum will look different if, for example, we are teaching literacy skills to a young child who has directly experienced trauma or if we are equipping an adolescent in a refugee camp with marketable vocational skills,” St. George says. “Most important is that our ICT4E solutions truly serve the educational needs of the children and youth who need them most.”

For more information on the Landscape Review of Technology for Refugee and IDP Education or to view the three learning modules, visit: https://creativeu.com/en/ict4e-for-refugees

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