Context: Conflict
Start date: 10/05/2013
End date: Ongoing
Intervention areas:

  • Azaz district, Syria
  • City of Gaziantep, Turkey

Activities: mLearning

6 schools supported
3 children centres supported
2 women centres supported
700 to 1,500 children and young women beneficiaries each year

mLearning for Syrian children

Publication date:2013-01-01
Last modication date:Jul 26, 2018 04:31 PM
2013 - Ongoing
TSF supports the education of displaced and refugees Syrian children by using digital technology to expand educational resources and activities.

Context

In March 2011, Syria was won by the "Arab Spring" movement that shook the Maghreb and Middle East regimes for several months. The government’s armed response, followed by the militarisation of the revolution, degenerated into a savage conflict for which no solution has been found so far. The direct intervention of foreign powers and various militias has considerably complicated the situation.

Living conditions have become increasingly inhumane for civilians over the past seven years. The destruction has affected the entire country and civilian and community infrastructures in their entirety, generating the mass displacement of populations.

The UNHCR estimates that there are 6.3 million internally displaced civilians in Syria, and more than 5.5 million Syrians who have fled to the camps of neighboring countries (Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey) to escape the war. More than half of the refugees are children, mostly under the age of 11. In 2017, more than 7,400 of the 22,000 schools in Syria were closed or inaccessible, and over 3 million refugee and displaced children are out of school.

In 2012, Télécoms Sans Frontières initiated support to the medical sector with 15 satellite lines and 9 broadband connections in various hospitals across the country. A year later, TSF strengthened its support by intervening in the educational field for displaced children inside Syria or refugees in neighboring Turkey.

According to UNICEF's 2016 No Place for Children report, it is estimated that 3.7 million Syrian children (one-third of the country’s child population) have been born since the beginning of the conflict five years ago. This figure includes the 306,000 children born as refugees since 2011.

In total, UNICEF estimates that 8.4 million children - more than 80 per cent of all Syrian children - are now affected by the conflict, whether in the country or in neighboring countries, as refugees.

Project

In the areas of Syria where TSF intervenes, these figures translate into many children either lacking access to education or an education system facing war. TSF has chosen to help these children by using digital technology to expand the educational resources available as well as the activities practiced.

The TSF mLearning project provides access to digital educational resources that children can access via tablets. These resources consist mainly of mobile applications, digitised courses and exercises, and videos. To make them available offline, TSF has created a specific kit to offer resources in Arabic, even in the event of internet and electricity interruptions.

Tablets are "all-in-one" tools that offer many possibilities for creating resources, such as quizzes or interactive documents.

The mLearning project is not limited to the provision of resources. The learning process is also specifically adapted and takes into account not only the possible psychological difficulties encountered by the children, but also the disparities of level existing between the children, irrespective their age.

Based on the advice of professional educators, the mLearning project provides a caring learning environment that respects the learning pace of each child, fostering the enjoyment of learning and positive interactions through group work.

TSF has supported the education of displaced children and Syrian refugees since May 2013 in the Bab-Alsalama IDP camp. Installed spontaneously during the years 2011-2012 to accommodate internally displaced people on the Turkish-Syrian border, 5 kilometers from the city of Azaz, this camp gradually organised and opened one, then two schools. Its population has varied between 5,000 and 15,000 depending on the evolution of the conflict.

TSF’s digital education activities were then offered to other children displaced in the Azaz district, and refugees in the city of Gaziantep in Turkey, 60 km from the Syrian border.

The project has taken different forms since 2013. Initially, the activities started as an extracurricular activity integrated into the school timetable, but without any direct link between the teachers' teaching and the mLearning activities.
Gradually at the initiative of TSF, collaboration between TSF animators and teachers has become closer and the activity has aroused the interest of teachers and principals from schools in the Azaz District.

This development, however, was halted in Turkey in the summer of 2015, following a reorganisation of schools by the Ministry of Education whose will it was to integrate Syrian refugees into the Turkish education system.

In Syria, the 2016/2017 school year saw the culmination of collaboration with local schools, as joint courses were set up, as well as several teacher training sessions on the use of resources and digital tools in class.

In the course of 2017, the Turkish government led a restructuring of the education system in the Azaz district, which led TSF to review the form of its activities from October onwards.

Currently, mLearning activities take place in Syria in three Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) in partnership with World Vision. The CFS are located in the Bab Alsalama, Bab-Alnour and Sejjo IDP camps, and represent more than 650 beneficiary children. Self-learning activities are being launched for 50 children in the Sejjo, Alrayan and Azaz camps.

In Turkey, the mLearning project supports more than 100 children at the Alanwar # 1 Center, in partnership with local organisation, Balkis.

See full screen

Activities

Whether in relation to schools or on its own activities, TSF focuses its activities on 3 basic subjects: mathematics, Arabic (literacy), and English.

To move forward step by step on each topic and consolidate achievements, a three-step learning process is applied:

  1. Discovery
  2. Practice
  3. Validation

The activities also address other themes such as history, geography and science, as well as awareness on social issues - adolescence, the role of women, the importance of education, and prevention against child marriage.

TSF’s approach aims to offer children enjoyable activities while drawing on their natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge. By practising the proposed learning method, they also progress independently, and can in some cases discover particular interests and memory techniques, for example, while learning to work with others. All of these elements support children in coping with the harsh conditions in which they live and the trauma of an endless war.

Centres supported by TSF since the beginning of the activity (only current centres are referenced on the map):

  • Alsalama School, Bab Al salama Camp, Syria (2013-2017)
  • Alsadaqa (Friendship) /Minber Alsham #1 School, Gaziantep, Turkey (2014-2016)
  • Minber Alsham #2 School, Gaziantep, Turkey (2015-2016)
  • New Alsalama School, Alsalama Camp, Syria (2015-2017)
  • Um Al Momineen school, Azaz, Syria (2016-2017)
  • Abo Baker School, Azaz, Syria (2016-2017)
  • Rainbow Centre, Gaziantep, Turkey (2016-2017)
  • CFS in Alsalama, Sejjo, Alnour Camps, Azaz District, Syria (2017-present)
  • Alanwar Centre, Gaziantep, Turkey (2017-présent)

Images