Education experts have called for increased access to digital resources and improved infrastructure to achieve better learning outcomes for young people from displaced communities.
Speaking at May’s edition of EdTech Mondays, an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation in partnership with Co-Creation Hub, attendees said technology is imperative for quality education.
The virtual panel discussion moderated by social engineering practitioner, Joyce Daniel, featured Eileen Akintemi, Deputy Head of Education, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Jonathan Darko, Associate Community Protection Officer at UNHCR, as well as two student interns from the National Open University, Ikom, Sakur Elias and Sandra Tiwa.
Speaking at the panel discussion on “Using EdTech to Foster Learning for Displaced Youth”, Darko noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a major challenge affecting many students, especially those in displacement camps, reinforced the important role that technology plays in ensuring quality education globally.
He explained that technology was key to promoting quality education today, especially access.
“We have worked with various partners to ensure that refugees have access to education, particularly in host communities, by providing innovative ways for refugees to learn outside of the classroom,” said he declared.
Some innovative ways include distance learning programs or opportunities and online platforms to expand access and complement existing traditional platforms.
“UNHCR contributes its quota by harnessing the opportunities of universities with distance learning programs where refugees can learn from the comfort of their homes via learning resources,” Darko said.
He noted that despite the challenges of poor infrastructure and resources, the potential for EdTech among young people in displaced communities remains quite huge.
He therefore advised stakeholders to invest resources in improving internet access and to establish more learning centers for refugees, noting that any intervention made in the area of education would also benefit refugees. host communities.
Akintemi, for his part, noted that it is crucial that EdTech products are developed according to the different languages among the refugees, to achieve a good learning outcome.
“Edtech product developers must take into account the language of the immediate environment. Stakeholders must offer contextually relevant Edtech products. There are various groups of people within the colony; we have both old and young in the colony. They need to develop a product that older people can use. They must take the language of instruction used at school. They need to know if the language of instruction matches the language spoken by the refugees,” she said.
Tiwa and Elias agreed that there was a need to improve infrastructure in displaced communities to enable access to quality education.