As the world increasingly turns to technology-supported learning, refugee learners and their host communities are digitally divided from their peers and the global community.
Schools and communities hosting refugees often lack the digital resources, skills, and knowledge to ensure learners thrive in a progressively digital world.
Building on SDG4 and the Transforming Education Summit (TES) Call to Action on Digital Learning, UNHCR has therefore launched the Refugee Connected Education Challenge (RCEC), calling on partners to commit to closing the digital divide to achieve universal access to high-quality connected education for refugees on par with nationals by 2030.
The time to act is now.
UNHCR needs you to act now. We call on society’s stakeholders, governments, private sector and partners to commit to the Refugee Connected Education Challenge and close the digital divide refugee and displaced learners face.
Through the Refugee Connected Education Challenge (RCEC), UNHCR and partners will advocate for access to high-quality connected learning for all refugees by 2030, working with governments and partners to make tangible commitments towards bridging the widening digital gap.
We must ensure that schools hosting refugees are prioritized and meaningfully included in global and national digital education and connectivity efforts. Only then will we be able to achieve SDG4 and provide more equitable futures for refugee children and youth around the globe.
Focus areas of the Refugee Connected Education Challenge
The Challenge partners will support catalyzing investment and commitments from stakeholders working in connected education, which align with the three Cs framework from the TES call to action for assuring and improving quality digital public learning for all:
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High-quality, curriculum-relevant digital teaching and learning content must be made available to all refugee learners, teachers, and caregivers through digital learning platforms.
The capacity to use digital technology to improve learning must be strengthened to ensure refugee teachers, learners, and other education stakeholders have the skills and knowledge needed to leverage digital tools for learning using evidence-based approaches.
Digital connectivity helps ensure that all refugee-hosting schools and communities can benefit from the educational advantages that come with good-quality internet connections.
Global Refugee Forum pledges
At the 2023 Global Refugee Forum, ambitious, multi-partner pledges will leverage expertise, innovation, and financing to demonstrate tangible progress towards access to quality connected education for refugees.
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The RCEC will build partnerships and commitments that address challenges across the 3Cs framework (content, capacity and connectivity) developed under the UN Secretary Generals’ Transforming Education Summit through the Digital Learning Call to Action.
Commitments under connectivity will be closely aligned with a mega pledge on connectivity at the GRF. This briefing proposes a suite of concrete, needs-based pledge guidelines which lead to sustainability and impact.
Challenge Action Group and Engagement
Recognizing the need for joint and coordinated action to ensure access to quality connected learning for all refugees, UNHCR has established a Challenge Action Group, comprised of stakeholders across sectors: the private sector, multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society actors, networks and agencies, to identify needs and barriers for refugee inclusion in connected education.
Current Challenge group members include a wide range of partners from UN agencies (UNESCO, UNICEF, ITU, GIGA), NGOs (Learning Equality, IRC) foundations (Vodafone Foundation, ProFuTuro, Dubai Care), technology companies (HP), global networks (INEE), and research entities (EdTech Hub).
The Challenge Action Group will convene regularly to draw on the analysis of gaps identified, propose solutions and steer the direction and investment.
Apart from guiding the GRF pledge formulation, members will collectively support to:
Identify and address strategic gaps
refugees face globally in accessing connected education and needs expressed by national governments for support.
Guide partners and stakeholders
in making commitments towards ensuring that refugees have universal access to high-quality connected education.
Share learning and amplify voices
from examples of best practices of inclusion of refugees in connected education initiatives in global conversations.
Advocate for and commit targeted resources
which support refugee inclusion in national initiatives for connected education.
Under the RCEC, a study will assess whether global investments in connected education are reaching refugee populations. The RCEC Action Group will be key conveners in building out opportunities to fill the gaps identified in this study.
The Challenge Action Group will operate for an initial period from June 2023 until the High-Level Officials Meeting in December 2025. During this period, the Challenge Action Group will decide on the best mechanism to progress the goals of the Refugee Connected Education Challenge in ensuring universal access to high-quality connected learning for refugees after 2025.
Evidence building for Connected Education
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UNHCR’s publication Connected Education for Refugees: Addressing the Digital Divide reviews the challenges refugees face in accessing digital learning opportunities during COVID.
The report notes that 78 per cent of refugee children and youth had limited to no access to learning opportunities during pandemic-related school closures.
It also highlights the additional measures taken to extend access to refugee hosting communities, recommending how to better design more inclusive digital learning programmes that can benefit all learners.
UNHCR and RCEC partners are developing a State of Play report, reviewing the collective investment and gaps in supporting refugees through connected education. It will propose joint recommendations and a call to action to guide future investments and the GRF pledging process.
Submit your commitment
Would you like to announce a commitment towards the Refugee Connected Education Challenge?