Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon have made remarkable use of social media and local community centers to build learning and support networks for young people seeking access to higher education, a recent report says.
The research for the report, titled “Refugee Learning Ecosystems: Reimagining Higher Education Access for Refugees,” was done by the not-for-profit organization Mosaik Education and presented to a webinar hosted by the British Council.
“Learning ecosystems” make use of informal contacts and resources which do not form part of a conventional educational system. There is no single model, but they include semi-autonomous and interactive actors and are usually learner-driven.
“Some of the learning systems and initiatives that have surfaced were quite magical even without intentional intervention,” said Ben Webster of Mosaik Education.
“With the British Council we are looking to start working with a range of partners including businesses, donors and educational institutions to support that and to connect formal institutions with informal education networks.”
The London-based Mosaik Edication provides academic guidance and language teaching to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to help them attain higher education.
UNHCR, The United Nations refugee agency, says only 3 percent of refugee youth have access to a university education, compared to 37 percent worldwide, and has set a goal of 15 percent by the end of the decade. (See a collection of related articles from Al-Fanar Media on refugee education issues.)
Diversity of Online Learning Sources
The research found that the refugee learning ecosystems for higher education combined a range of interactive elements, including formal institutions such as universities, informal gatherings of student-led language practice groups, and study groups on social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. Physical spaces provided by community, nongovernmental or international organizations also offered the means to access online courses, modules or platforms.