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Improving Access To Education For refugees In Recent Times


As more people throughout the world are forced to leave their homes due to conflicts, in search of a better home, or numerous other reasons, host countries are trying to keep up with the inundation of new students in their education systems. More than 5 million Syrians have escaped their country, which has been torn apart due to war. It is estimated that nearly 65 million people, with 22.5 million considered refugees have been forced from their home countries. This isn’t a new problem we’ve come across, refugees and refugee camps have existed for decades. Al Baqa'a, a refugee camp in Jordan, was first created in 1968 as an emergency camp after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It is still home to 100,000 refugees. Which means there are established services in the camp, including schools. With increasing xenophobia and gaps in integration policies, education for refugees comes with a lot many obstacles. Moreover, resettlement in an entirely new country can leave them out of school which makes it difficult for them to rejoin formal education. Issues like language restrictions, finances and lack of job opportunities also arise. Considering how much of a vital thing education is for everyone, host countries have been implementing several methods in order to provide refugee children with knowledge. The American Refugee Committee in partnership with the government of Jordan and the refugees themselves have set up out of school lessons, which are taught by qualified Syrian and Jordanian teachers. Among the refugee population are many teachers, who, due to their refugee status, are barred from employment. This leads to a surreal situation in which schools for Syrian refugee children are short of teachers, while qualified Syrian teachers, familiar with the Syrian curriculum, are prohibited from teaching. Finding ways for refugees to earn money legally will reduce pressure on their children to drop out of school and contribute to the family finances. They have managed to reach about 6,000 students and offer 10th and 11th grade certifications, as well as high school diplomas. The Italian nonprofit, building peace foundation has launched a program in which the team has designed and produced temporary, modular, and re-deployable structures suitable for multiple uses, from schools to medical clinics. It takes about two weeks to build a structure, using the labor (paid) available in the camps. This past summer, Building Peace announced plans to build a school that can accommodate up to 3,000 children at the Za'atari refugee camp. Another organization called “room to read” has also stepped up. They seek to transform the lives of millions of children in low income countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education and developing literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children. Room to Read announced a program, under their accelerator, to bring half a million early grade books to primary students and Syrian refugees, also in Jordan. The organization takes a holistic approach to its work, in this case training and collaborating with Jordanian authors and illustrators, who are finding inspiration from stories shared by refugees. A significant number of refugees have migrated to developing countries. In order to improve education for them, national education systems in host countries need more funding to provide the schools and teachers necessary for all refugee children to have a quality education. Local universities need more support to offer displaced tertiary students the opportunity to complete their studies. Since a huge number of these refugees are Syrian, schools for them in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and elsewhere could teach the same Syrian curriculum the kids were learning at home, it would minimize the disruption caused by changing countries. A blended model, with quality online content supporting local teaching, would make sense. Education gives these children and young adults a better future. It's critical to remember that the children who are caught up in the strife are also the best hope for a peaceful future. Educating them is key to creating that possibility.


Till Next Time,

The Alpha Theory


~Risika Singh

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