Call to action for “edtech solutions” in refugee education

The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) has published seven calls to action to support the education of refugees through tech

In a bid to provide refugees proper access to education through technology, a call to action has been made to the global education community by the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE). 

The seven calls to action are contained within a new report, jointly co-authored by the AGFE, the world’s largest independent child’s rights organisation Save the Children, and global non-profit research partnership EdTech Hub, titled: High, Low, or No Tech? Roundtable Discussion on the Role of Technology in Refugee Education.’ 

The report comes at a time when there is a risk of a “lost generation” of refugee youth, it states, who face severe disruption to their education which has been further exacerbated by the pandemic. 

Founded in 2015, the AGFE is one of the largest privately funded philanthropic foundations in the Arab region and supports the provision of high-quality technology-based education opportunities for all. 

Unequal access 

The report highlighted the global disparity of access to education, with only 68% of refugee children attending primary school compared to 91% of children worldwide. 

Only 34% of refugee children enrolled at secondary level during 2020. 48% of school-age refugees are unable to attend school overall.  

We need strategic partnerships funding edtech programs together, ensuring relevant skills and employability. Adopting collaborative principles informs the design of edtech solutions and by working together, we can make a tangible impact on refugee education – H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of AGFE 

The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR estimates that globally more than 80 million people are displaced by climate change and political unrest, and that number is projected to grow in the coming years and decades. 

Calls to action 

The report presents seven calls to action to assist refugees and host community education actors to better respond to children’s learning and wellbeing needs, leveraging evidence-based effective practices through edtech initiatives. 

Bringing together global education stakeholders, including donors, practitioners, and beneficiaries of edtech programs in refugee settings, the report aims to continue the global discourse on edtech and refugee education. 

The roundtable also addressed the need to bridge the gap on digital literacy, and the skills and training needed for edtech interventions to be a success. 

The calls to action are: 

  1. Listen, reflect, and engage with refugee students, teachers, and parents.  
  2. Build multi-stakeholder collaborations to provide holistic responses to refugee education.  
  3. Prioritise localisation in edtech approaches to refugee education.  
  4. Use high, low, and no-tech modalities for refugee education to align with the context.  
  5. Strengthen the technological infrastructure to increase access for all. 
  6. Prioritise student and teacher learning and wellbeing. 
  7. Maintain a sustained focus on edtech and refugee education. 

“Edtech interventions should never be solely about the technology but about the learner’s socio-emotional growth,” stated Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of AGFE. 

“Our children may be learning in isolation, but they need to be growing in societies. Therefore, it is important that edtech programs extend from academic capacity building to also providing psychosocial wellbeing and resilience that supports refugees to navigate trauma.”

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