Recently, we can see a large number of refugees in the world and a huge number of NGOs to help them. But did you ever ask yourself what is the best thing that might really help them? Apart from the papers, they need help legally, but they can receive a good education!
What are the problems that refugees face with education?
Difficulties in refugee education can be sorted as cultural differences, language, lack of knowledge about education supplies, psychological difficulties, living conditions, and training costs.
The impact of refugee experiences on students and families is significant. They may have experienced danger, uncertainty and trauma. Disrupted or limited formal education and therefore low literacy skills in their first language.
How can we help them and the best solution that the world thinks might be their future?
- Adequately fund schools and universities. 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.
- Expand vocational training. Vocational training is the best option for many kids who are too old to return to school. Some organizations, such as CARE, with the support of various Western governments, are already helping refugees to become certified in trades – but more such efforts are needed. Working with Jordan’s government and corporate partners, including Microsoft, my organization’s sister company, Lynke is starting a six-month training programme in app-building for Syrian refugees and disadvantaged Jordanians – leading to a qualification recognised all over the world.
- Develop a Syrian curriculum for refugees. If schools for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and elsewhere could teach the same Syrian curriculum the kids were learning at home; it would minimise the disruption caused by changing countries. With quality online content supporting local teaching, a blended model would make sense.
- Allow refugee teachers to teach. Many teachers are among the refugee population who are legally barred from employment due to their refugee status. 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. More generally, 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. To its great credit, Jordan’s government is leading the way with a new initiative allowing refugees to work legally in three “economic free zones” bordering Syria: Mafraq, Irbid and Ramtha.
- Develop tests as an alternative to transcripts. We work with our partner universities to develop tests for them to assess the knowledge and potential of students without transcripts – but this is a time-consuming process. It would be more efficient to develop a single test that multiple universities would recognize as demonstrating that students deserve a chance to continue their studies.
- Facilitate travel for studies. When my organization connects talented students with a university willing to offer them a place and finds funds to cover all the costs, we face another problem – it can be very hard to persuade that university’s country to issue a visa. Many governments could do more to facilitate travel procedures for the most outstandingly academically-talented refugees to access the highest-quality education, helping them become future leaders in post-conflict rebuilding.
Many NGOs have already taken this action, and I can guarantee that it is working! Many refugees have found jobs and safe life thanks to this mission of the Non-profit organizations.
The question is: can countries come together to make these solutions happen?