The above image is of the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Its “residents” – are permanent impermanents. I heard that term recently, and wish I could give credit to its creator, but I don’t know who originally coined the term. Its inference is clinical, and seemingly, without feeling, but it so effectively captures the liminality – I would say chronic liminality in fact – that these refugees are suspended in.
In emergency and conflict-affected settings, such as Za’atari, what are the fundamentals of learning? Here, in this space, individuals have been stripped bare of everything they have known and held dear, commencing with their citizen status first and foremost. Once their immediate basic needs have been met, how is their “Right to Education” recognised and validated? What is the absolute, Top-of-the-List priorities for agencies like UNESCO, Save the Children and World Vision in the educational context?
For the people at grass-roots level, offering support and care for refugees – the fundamental educational goal, according to UNESCO, is to increase educational opportunities for those affected – children and adults alike – and to devise, incorporate and implement innovative solutions to the delivery of education in these settings. The one thing all agencies currently appear to be championing is the use and integration of, and providing opportunites for, mLearning. That is, Mobile Learning.
According to UNESCO, mLearning is the ability to access/provide educational material on personal mobile devices (eg. Smartphones, tablets) and is generally self-paced, and readily accessible – round the clock, and from almost any location. E-Learning is the dispersing of educational knowledge and content over the Internet, and can be either via synchronous or asynchronous learning. If you like, e-Learning is the WHAT, and mLearning is the HOW.
The application of ICT in providing opportunities for educating refugees, helps improve accessibility to, quality and management of education in refugee settings. Using mLearning and e-Learning with innovative solutions to education on the move is helping address refugees’ Right to Education.
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King