Insights

Global financiers tackle refugees’ education

29 September 2020

Leading organisations invested in children’s education met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week to share programmatic and financial learnings developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need to strengthen digital learning.  

Entitled ‘Meeting our Promises on Refugee Education during COVID-19’ the virtual roundtable brought together senior government, institutional, private sector and philanthropic partners to discuss learnings and solutions that have emerged throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Co-hosted by Save the Children, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, Education Cannot Wait and the World Bank, this high-level event provided a unique opportunity for partners from across the aid sector to discuss these important education topics.  

The global pandemic crisis has exacerbated the several challenges that the refugee education was already facing. Philanthropists have a unique role in being responsive and strategic in addressing challenges during the pandemic. We came together today to confirm our commitment to continue our support to ensure that refugee education is prioritised and successfully supported with solutions that have been shown to make a difference,” said H.E Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education.  

All financing options must be pursued – additional donor resources, debt relief, as well as more efficient and equitable public spending – in order to ensure that every refugee child receives a quality education.  This has always been true and is even more urgent given the exacerbation of inequalities in education service delivery resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Keiko Miwa, Regional Director, Human Development, Middle East and North Africa, World Bank. 

Learnings and insights from the discussions will result in a joint paper, published to inform the sector on how to better respond to refugee children’s learning and wellbeing needs during this on-going pandemic and in the face of future such crises. 

Among the attendees were senior representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Community Jameel, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the LEGO Foundation, Dubai Cares and the Olayan Foundation.  

The themes of the event were:  

  • Adapting financing mechanisms for refugee education:  Philanthropists, the private sector and multilateral funding institutions shared how financing mechanisms for refugee education have been adapted throughout the pandemic, and how philanthropy can be directed strategically to complement institutional and private sector funding during crises.  

 

  • Adapting education approaches to distance learning and ensuring that other school services are continued: governments, non-governmental organisations, donors and foundations that have implemented distance education shared their best practices. This included no-tech, low-tech and high-tech approaches such as distributing paper materials and the use of radio, computers, tablets, mobiles and TVs.  

 

Organisations shared how they have continued school services that refugees rely on. These services included: school meals, health services, child protection services and mental health and psychosocial support. 

The roundtable co-hosts were: His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation, Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar, Chief Executive Officer, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation, Keiko Miwa, Director for the Educational Global Practice, World Bank, Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait, Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive, Save the Children UK, The roundtable moderator was Andrew Jack, Global Education Editor, Financial Times. 

The event was held on Tuesday, September 29

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Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund partners with Discovery Education to deliver high-quality online learning to thousands of refugees and vulnerable youth in Lebanon

DUBAI, UAE – 29 September, 2020

The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund (REF) has announced a new first of its kind partnership with Discovery Education to deliver award winning online learningincreasing access to education for thousands of refugees and vulnerable youth in Lebanon. 

The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Covid-19 Online Learning Emergency Fund for Refugee Education, was launched by H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair in April 2020 to ensure vulnerable populations are able to continue their learning without interruptionThis partnership with Discovery Education will help fill the educational gaps that have emerged because of the COVID -19 crisis. This program will reach 5,000 at-risk students in addition to over 17,500 students already being helped by REF in Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE 

As part of the partnership with the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fundand for the first time ever, Discovery Education will collaborate with local organizations in Lebanon to provide access to highquality digital learning resources aligned to the Lebanese curriculum for students in Grade 8 – 12This partnership is a component of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund’s effort to help 5,000 refugees and marginalized youth communities transition to Grades 9 and 12 and give them a chance to succeed when sitting the critical Lebanese national examinations 

 

Discovery Education will also provide Professional Learning to 100 teachers to address the challenges of remote instructionenabling them to access a diverse set of new digital tools to help them deliver online lessons to students effectively. Through a series of online workshops, including but not limited to remote classroom management, effective teaching strategies for enhancing learning with digital resources will be offeredParticipating teachers will also become part of Discovery Educator Network, an online community of practice comprised of educators from all over the globe.  

The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Covid-19 Online Learning Emergency Fund for Refugee Education will also provide students access to devices and internet connections to ensure their Discovery Education experience is not obstructed by any technical difficulty or lack of equipment.  

As students in Lebanon continue to face multi-faceted challenges with an unprecedented high risk of dropping out of school, this first of its kind partnership between Discovery Education and The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund comes in a timely manner.  

The increase in dropouts from secondary education amongst refugees is alarming, whereby less than 2% of Syrian refugees complete their secondary education. This program will help students catch up on the education they have missed – on and off since October 2019 – through interactive and creative online tools and pedagogies.  

H.E Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education and founder of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund said: The economic crisis followed by the pandemic and the devasting blast in Beirut has forced Lebanon to adapt to a new challenging reality. We are proud of this partnership with Discovery Education as digital education is the new go to solution for education, this program ensures refugees and vulnerable youth have effective access to high quality education that they would not have otherwise. 

Robin Headlee, managing director of Discovery Education International said:  “Refugees and vulnerable youth in Lebanon have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year, which have posed several risks to their access to education. We strongly believe that no child or young person’s education should be halted due to external factors which are beyond their control. That’s why we are doing our part to ensure these young people have the opportunity to continue their education online, in order for them catch-up on their development and not be held back in the future. I am delighted that what started out as a kernel of an idea by two like-minded organisation has resulted in this practical, proactive and tangible project.”  

 

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