Education experts have called for increased access to digital resources and improved infrastructure to achieve good learning outcomes for youth in displaced communities.
This was the takeout of the conversations during the May edition of EdTech Mondays, an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation, in partnership with Co-Creation Hub.
The virtual roundtable moderated by a social engineering practitioner, Joyce Daniel, featured panelists like the Assistant Education Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Eileen Akintemi; Associate Community Based Protection Officer, UNHCR, Jonathan Darko, as well as two internship students from the National Open University, Ikom, Sakur Elias and Sandra Tiwa.
Speaking at the roundtable with the theme ‘Using EdTech to drive learning for displaced youth,’ 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 can play in ensuring quality education globally.
He explained that technology is critical in promoting quality education in this era, especially access. “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,” he said.
Some innovative ways 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 distant learning programs where refugees can learn in the comfort of their homes via learning resources.” he said.
He noted that despite the challenges of poor infrastructure and resources, the potential for EdTech among youth in displaced communities remains quite tremendous.
He therefore advised stakeholders to invest resources in improving internet access and creating more centres for refugees to learn to note that every intervention made in the area of education would equally benefit the host communities.
On his part, Akintemi said it is crucial for EdTech products to be developed in line with different languages among the refugees, to achieve 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.
Both Tiwa and Elias agreed that there is need for improved infrastructure in displaced communities to enable access to quality education.