Currently, the world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record as a result of conflict or persecution: over 70 million people around the world have been forced from their homes. Among the displaced are over 41 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), around 3.5 million asylum seekers and more than 25 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18 (source UNHCR). On average, a refugee spends 17 years of his or her life in exile, unable to go home or move on with life. Worldwide 50% of primary school age refugee children and 75% of adolescent refugees at secondary education level are out of school. Moreover, refugee education is generally of very low quality. The teacher-pupil ratios can be as high as 1:70 and, in many situations, refugee teachers have not even had the ten days of training that would categorize them officially as “trained”. In emergency situations, children and youth are in need of developing resilience. Children need to deal with the situations of adversity, violence and loss. In addition, the teachers need specific skills to cater to the specific psychosocial needs the children have after experiencing an emergency situation. Psychosocial problems among children and youth are common and can cause school drop-out, communication problems, criminality, or even radicalization. Vulnerable groups of children and youth often lack the skills to express themselves effectively, manage their emotions and social environment. In addition, emergency situations often lead to toxic stress and children develop psychosocial problems. In schools, these problems can intensify if teachers do not have the right skills to deal with these problems.
Education in emergencies
Edukans aims to ensure that all displaced children and youth enjoy full access to quality education that is relevant to their psychosocial, emotional and cognitive development. Our schools provide safe spaces for children to build friendships, play and learn. Regarding education in emergencies, Edukans contributes to needs assessment, programme development, research, and teacher training:
• We set up temporary structures or safe spaces to learn;
• We work closely with parents and communities to help them understand the value of education for their children;
• We offer teacher training in areas like child-centred pedagogy, active learning, managing large class sizes and use of local materials;
• We coordinate with governments to offer certification for refugee teachers and students;
• We promote life skills, including sexual and reproductive health and social-emotional learning.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
Offering social and emotional learning (SEL) in educational settings, makes psychosocial support accessible for a wide range of children and helps to tackle the challenges children face. SEL is an approach that focusses on the whole person. It does not only prevent problematic
behavior, it helps building a positive community. SEL is often called the missing piece in education, that helps children to build resilience and equips teachers with the competencies to create a safe learning space and to respond well to the psychosocial problems children often face after a crisis.