“I don’t care about my future, I only care about the future of my children. I don’t care about anything other than their education. I had no education so it is too late for me, but it is not too late for them. I want to encourage them to study. I want my children to have a better life than the one I had”. (Anon, father of 9 children, Za’atari)
Planning for the future
Planning an effective child-friendly learning space for the future in the Za’atari Refugee Camp must take into consideration several factors-
- Ongoing safety for children accessing and within the school zone
- Accessibility for all school-age children
- Quality resources available
- Collaboration for design with community members
- Communication ongoing with families
- Suitable curriculum for all ages and abilities
- Provision for children with disabilities
- Access to technology, electricity, improved internet/wi-fi
- Quality teachers to facilitate learning
- Access to psycho-social support
- Facilities already available
Focus on technology and personal learning
Just as digital literacy is important for the future of children in developed and wealthy communities, it is vital for children in communities trying to rebuild after conflict for a more positive future. Through technology, communities can communicate with the world, access information, educate themselves and develop skills to gain opportunities for the future. With technology infrastructure already being upgraded within the Za’atari Camp, thanks to funding and grants from around the world, the possibilities for ICT education are looking bright. Non-profit organisations are also running programmes to improve the digital literacy of teachers to ensure quality ICT instruction and guidance for future learning.
Children can gain much from access to technology and also from the encouragement and motivation from teachers to continue their education to provide a better future for themselves and their families. Learning environments that encourage self-direction and self- efficacy build confidence and are empowering. Technology is one tool that encourages individualised learning- students can access information that is relevant and appropriate to their abilities and needs. Technology opens a whole world of opportunity for generations to come.
“Quality education is education that works for every child and enables all children to achieve their full potential”(UNICEF)
A design for mobile education
Mobile education hubs address the problem of schools not being easily accessible to all children within the refugee camp. As the camp has evolved quickly over 5 years little consideration to formal layout was given and schools have been erected in locations available at the time. The result is schools being far and inaccessible by families in certain areas of the camp. The development of mobile education hubs allows classrooms and educational resources to be moved throughout the camp and within reach of most school-aged children and potentially adults wanting to further their education.
The mobile classrooms will be powered by clean energy solar power with access to satellite technology and wi-fi enabling quality teaching through distance education programmes as well as local teacher instruction.With a focus on ICT education the mobile classrooms will be equipped with tech tools such as computers, tablets and interactive whiteboards to teaching and learning. Far from the distractions of the outside world, the mobile classroom offers a safe space where learning can be encouraged in a personalised way.
Future education involves the integration of a curriculum that takes into account children have different needs and circumstances. They need to be able to build on existing skills and knowledge at their own pace, be able to think and reason, build self-respect and respect for others. They need to be able to reach their full potential as individuals, members of their community and citizens of the world.
” Child-friendly spaces address the total needs of the child as a learner” (Unicef)
‘Teachers are the largest professionally trained group in the world – the key local catalysts of change and hope. Teachers Without Borders connects teachers to information and each other in order to bring about social change—worldwide’. (TWB)
Refugees have skills, hopes and dreams for the future. Teachers have the ability to break down barriers, educate, and connect international communities together. Communities can flourish given the support and resources to equip them for the future.
“Refugees face two journeys, one leading to hope, the other to despair. It is up to us to help them along the right path.” (UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi)
EDUCATION HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE LIVES
Images courtesy of Google images