Education experts in the humanitarian field have called on government at all levels and other stakeholders to invest more resources in improving internet access and quality digital infrastructure, as well as creating more centres for refugees to learn and acquire education.
This was as they noted that increased access to digital resources and improved infrastructure are keyed in achieving good learning outcomes for youths in displaced communities.
T hey made the call during one of the editions of EdTech Mondays, an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation in partnership with Co-Creation Hub, and explained that technology was critical in promoting quality education in this era, especially access.
The virtual roundtable was moderated by a social engineering practitioner, Joyce Daniel, with Assistant Education Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Eileen Akintemi; Associate Community-Based Protection Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Jonathan Darko, as well as two internship students from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Ikom Sakur Elias and Sandra Tiwa, as panelists.
The theme of the virtual roundtable was: “Using EdTech to Drive Learning for Displaced Youth.”
In his presentation, Darko noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, which became a major challenge that affected many students, particularly those in displaced camps, has reinforced the significant role technology could play in ensuring quality education globally.
He explained that technology was critical in promoting quality education in this era, especially access, saying: “We have worked with various partners to ensure that refugees have access to education, particularly in the host communities by providing innovative ways of learning for refugees outside the classroom.”
Some of the innovative ways, he pointed out, include distant learning programmes or opportunities and online platforms to expand access and complement existing traditional platforms.
“UNHCR is contributing its quota by tapping into opportunities from universities with distance learning programmes where refugees can learn in the comfort of their homes via learning resources.” he said.
Darko, however, noted that despite the challenges of poor infrastructure and resources, the potential for EdTech among youths in displaced communities remains quite tremendous. He noted that every intervention made in the area of education would benefit the host communities.
Also, Akintemi stressed that it was crucial for EdTech products to be developed in line with different languages among the refugees if we were committed to achieving a good learning outcome.
“Developers of EdTech products must consider the language of the immediate environment. Stakeholders need to come up with contextually relevant EdTech products.
There are diverse groups of people within the settlement. We have both the old and the young in the settlement. They need to develop a product that the elderly can use. They need to take the language of instruction being used in school. They need to know if the language of instruction is in line with the language spoken by the refugees,” she said.