In response to the massive educational challenges posed by the Syrian crisis, and taking into account UNICEFs estimates of up to 30% ICT connectivity among Syrian refugees and 60% local Lebanese population, TidWiT is committing to implement smarter learning through the use of technology, which is quick to deploy, can be scaled affordably, and its effectiveness can be measured. As such, TidWiT will provide a fully digitized Lebanese curriculum for online access together with accelerated and remedial material in a free and easy to access e-learning environment, which is accessible at anytime from anywhere. Complementing the online approach will be multiple communication and delivery modes through the public school system, Syrian refugee schools, community centers, and self-study.
Having received the endorsement of the Lebanese Ministry of Education (MEHE) as well as international NGOs operating in Lebanon and the region, and having successfully launched a proof of concept in 2014, TidWiT will now scale its innovative solution to tens of thousands of recipients. The expected outcomes are that up to 50,000 Lebanese public school students and Syrian refugees will become more engaged to either re-enter the school system, obtain non-formal certifications and diplomas necessary for worthwhile employment, as well as prepare for testing. One of TidWiTs primary aims is to drive the cost of delivering education down to $10-$20 per student per year (Content, Technology, and Delivery) for those students who do not have access to schools, want to access remedial material before joining schools, or want to complement their in-school activities. Of notable mention is the goal to impact girls and women so as to protect them at a time when child labor, prostitution, and violence are on the rise among Syrian refugee girls and women. TidWiTs approach can provide a way for girls and women to re-integrate themselves through learning, interacting, and opportunities for personal advancement or employment.
The American Task Force for Lebanon will serve as Advisory Committee Chair to support the e-learning of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon to prevent a "lost generation of children.
While the project is initially focused on Lebanon, it has the potential for regional replication.
May 2015 August 2015: TidWiT will deliver the basic Lebanese curriculum on an online platform with customization that meets its partners guidelines. During this period, TidWit plans to engage with the Lebanese Ministry of Education to train its IT staff, champion teachers, local and International NGOs.
September 2015 to October 2015: TidWiT will begin delivering complementary content to help Accelerate Learning and provide remedial learning (Cycle 1 and Cycle 2). This would include libraries of eBooks, Music Archives, ESL, Videos. Training of online teachers and partner organization staff will begin. TidWiT will announce together with partners on a national basis the availability of the curriculum online in time for the beginning of the 2015/2016 school year.
October 2015-May 2016: Online access and field delivery scaled with the partners in the different regions including Bekaa, South, North, and the cities.
May 2016: Reports on results and comparative evaluations.
The protracted civil war in Syria has caused a human catastrophe of unprecedented proportions in the region. It is estimated by UNICEF that of the approximate 4 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, 50% are under the age of 18. It is estimated that Lebanon has absorbed approximately 30% of the refugees and the needs are no longer limited to emergency aid, but increasingly related to developmental needs. One of the crucial issues is education, whose needs are increasing exponentially as per United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). According to the UNHCR, as the 2014/2015 school year began, there were approximately 280,000 Syrian refugee children registered in Lebanon. Since the Lebanese public school system capacity is a total of 300,000 children, the Ministry of Education has indicated that a maximum of 90,000 refugee children can be accommodated in the schools. This means hundreds of thousands of Syrian children need access to education outside the formal public school system.
While international NGOs have focused on educational assistance, they have often been limited to traditional brick and mortar methods that are difficult to scale. UNICEF reports that education remains the most underfunded sector, with over 63% of needs unmet. The issue has as much to do with funding as it does with mode of delivery. Of primary concern is that current education efforts cannot scale to meet the refugees growing needs. In a recent Senate foreign relations hearing led by Senator Tim Kaine, following a visit to Lebanon, he voiced this very concern, In terms of the magnitude of the refugee challenge, [is the] NGO community is appropriately changing its thinking and planning to treat this not as an emergency situation, but to start looking at it as a long term problem, in which the way you manage it is different from a normal emergency relief operation?
Ultimately, the issue is how can education be scaled, quickly, effectively, affordably, and in a way that can reach hundreds of thousands and whose effectiveness can be measured.
TidWiT aims to drive the cost of delivering online education down to $20 per student per year (Content, Technology, and Delivery) for those students who do not have access to schools, want to access remedial material before joining schools, or want to complement their in-school activities.
To reach the targeted 50,000 students, the estimated resources that are needed will be in the range of $1 million. Additional content to be developed for remedial and accelerated learning will require $0.5 million for the first year for an estimated total of $1.5 million in needed funding.