This Refugee Week, we are raising awareness of the educational situations of young people who are displaced around the world. How much do you know about the challenges - and opportunities - involved in refugee education? Here’s 7 Key things to know:
Conflict disrupts education - but education disrupts conflict. War and violence are some of the main factors that drive people from their homes and get in the way of their education; and since higher levels of education inequality lead to higher levels of violence, this is a vicious circle. But each extra average year spent in education reduces the risk of conflict in a country by 20% - we just need to make that education happen.
Children aren’t the only refugees in need of education. Whilst 61% of refugees are able to access primary education, only 23% end up in secondary education with less than 1% eventually attending university. The provision for 16-25s to access the learning they’ll need for their future careers is concerningly low - which is what Sky School is working to change.
For many refugees, this is the only education they’re likely to get. The average time people spend in displacement due to crises and conflict is 20 years. And yet education spending in international aid has stayed the same for the last decade - compared to increases in other spending areas, such as health. This is even more problematic since...
...the majority of refugees are currently in developing countries, where capacity for providing education to displaced people is low. Blended learning, like the 60% onsite - 40% online model that we use, could be one solution to this, ensuring that learners feel connected with each other through in person learning, while providing flexibility through online study.
Qualifications not being recognised can stop education in its tracks. As conflict and displacement mean that certificates can get lost and left behind and scarce records are kept, it’s a struggle for many displaced people to prove their existing qualifications in other countries - stopping them both from finding work that’s a good fit for their skills and also from entering further education. That’s why at Sky School we are flexible with entry requirements and are developing a flexible Diploma Programme.
Just offering refugee scholarships to universities won’t solve the refugee education crisis. While scholarships like this can offer brilliant opportunities for young people, they don’t really address the lack of secondary education provision, as well as displacing young people even further - not the right option for everyone. What’s more, they fall far short of dealing with the scale of the problem. Blended learning could be one solution: by some estimates, for the price of one scholarship, a blended learning programme could reach ten people.
Education can, and does, give displaced people the tools to make a change in their communities. The people best placed to understand the challenges and see solutions in refugee communities are the people who’ve been through it themselves. Our courses - from ´Maths for Change’ to ‘Peacebuilding in your community´- enable students to develop their agency and build strategies for making a change. As one student commented, “The course changed the way I think. Before I saw problems, now I see opportunities!”
To read more about Sky School’s education, click here.