Rapid Evidence Review: Refugee Education

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Summary

This Rapid Evidence Review provides an overview of existing literature on the use of educational technology for the education of refugees in low- and middle-income countries . The RER has been produced in response to the widespread global shutdown of schools resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19. This RER provides a summary of the potential benefits of using technology for the education of refugees as well as its risks, limitations and challenges.

Literature Themes

  1. Continued access to education: This theme discusses how technology can facilitate continued access to education amid significant disruption caused by displacement.
  2. Modalities and pedagogies: This theme examines the ways in which technology delivers or supports education and learning, with a particular focus on pedagogies.
  3.  Supporting educators of refugee children: This theme explores how technology can support educators of refugees, both inside and outside the classroom.
  4. Psychosocial support: This theme examines the ways in which EdTech and related pedagogies may support the psychosocial wellbeing of disrupted learners.

Key Findings

  1. EdTech can facilitate access to education and learning during periods of disruption caused by forced displacement. However, EdTech must be adapted and contextualised to each refugee setting: this has to account for local attitudes towards technology and promote refugees’ feelings of ownership, particularly among education stakeholders on the front lines of implementation.
  2. EdTech should support, not replace, teachers and others supporting learning, even when they are not fully qualified (as is often the case in refugee settings). Integrating pedagogical capacity-building is key. This will normally necessitate a learner-centred approach, which may differ from the way most teachers and students understand learning. Adapting to the new pedagogical method, together with the use of EdTech tools, is likely to require ongoing training and support for teachers and educators.
  3.  Technology enables continued support for teachers beyond basic training and can facilitate local to global connections, widening the support network and learning community for teachers of refugees.
  4. Psychosocial wellbeing of children affected by forced displacement can, at times, be supported through EdTech modalities and pedagogies; digital games and EdTech that encourages creativity and imagination and facilitates social connections and support networks demonstrate potential.
  5. The implementation of EdTech presents some challenges. Cost and logistical feasibility are primary issues, but the design and maintenance of tools and their content should also be considered carefully, as these have further implications on full-cost appraisals over the life of interventions. The sustainability of interventions must be considered from the outset in order to avoid further disruption to refugee children’s education progression.
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