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Jul 15 2019 - 08:00pm
Reaching Refugee Students Through Skype

To say that educating refugees is complicated and challenging is an understatement. Displaced people are in a constant state of flux so reliable access to formal learning can be hard to come by.

In the Kakuma Refugee camp in Northwest Kenya, one of the largest in the world, there are 186,000 refugees. A significant percentage have experienced interruptions in their education when fleeing their home country to seek asylum. Koen Timmers, a computer science teacher living in Belgium, wanted to find a way to remedy this problem and created an initiative to connect teachers via Skype to students living in Kakuma. Over three years, he has recruited a team of 325 educators from over 75 countries to teach a variety of subjects for free to residents of Kakuma.

Timmers discusses the importance of education in becoming a global citizen. What types of skills and knowledge do you think someone needs to become one? Do you see any potential problems with his method of education for refugees? Join the discussion on Vialogues.

Excerpts from the discussion:

@00:15 Cinthia Fabian: I think having a very firm grasp of your local ("local", define as you will) sociocultural context and where you as an individual are situated within it is important . How else can you teach and learn across cultures if you lack a solid basis of comparison, or self-awareness?

@00:59 Anna Curry I think there are limitations to what can be taught in this online format. And I wonder how reliable internet connections are during this classes. Still, I think it's remarkable the connections that can be forged using technology.

@00:59 Ollie Hopper: There could definitely be some cultural barriers here pertaining to what knowledge is useful and relevant to refugee students. It obviously won't be the same as in US public schools for instance, and neither should the pedagogy. Neither pedagogy nor content can be homogenous on a global scale.

Posted in: New Learning TimesVialogues|By: Melanie Hering|29 Reads