From an LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum to an organisation empowering refugee children to teach themselves, these five projects are working to fill the education gap
This piece is part of our Hope 100 series, telling the stories of the people and organisations creating hope for 2020 and beyond
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, just 3 per cent of refugees have access to higher education, compared to a global average of 37 per cent. Trying to improve these odds is Peckham-based Mosaik Education, which gives displaced people in Lebanon and Jordan a route into university. The charity links displaced people with peer support and online learning, and recently secured funding from the Department for International Development.
Onebillion develops software to offer education to vulnerable children, child refugees and to girls and boys in remote places. The non-profit aims to get its learning software into the hands of 1 billion children worldwide, so they can teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic. The initiative was joint winner of the $10m (£7.7m) Global Learning XPRIZE, which awards ‘scalable’ learning software for children who lack access to education.
#17 High Tech High
High Tech High took a radically different approach to education when it opened its doors 20 years ago in California. The school aims to foster curiosity, trust and respect in its students. How? Via a ‘personalised approach to teaching’ and encouraging students to learn outside school, such as in work placements or community activities. It now has four campuses and some 16 schools, with more than 5,000 students enrolled each year.
#18 Stonewall’s inclusive primary curriculum
LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall has published a guide to help teachers deliver inclusive education. Nearly half of young LGBTQ+ people in the UK claim to have been bullied for their sexuality or gender identity; Stonewall’s curriculum helps teachers tackle bullying and create learning environments where everyone feels welcome. “All children deserve an education which reflects the world we live in, and teaches them to celebrate and embrace diversity,” says Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton, head of education programmes at the charity.
All children deserve an education which reflects the world we live in, and teaches them to celebrate and embrace diversity
#19 Hello World
“If you combine all the funding that’s available to solve the education deficit and apply it to building schools and hiring teachers, you still don’t come close to reaching every child.”
Katrin McMillan explains the problem that led her to set up Hello World – a bid to fill the deficit that currently sees around 263 million children go without schooling globally. Her solution: solar-powered, wifi-enabled kiosks that are fitted with touchscreen computers loaded with learning resources and constructed in some of the world’s most marginalised communities. There are now 25 Hello Hubs in three countries: one in Nigeria, 12 in Nepal and 12 in Uganda.
Communities invest their time and resources to build their hub, which helps children to develop engineering skills as well as confidence, McMillan explains. Children use them in two ways: to play games on the computers’ educational software, and explore the internet.
It appears to be having a tangible positive impact. “We see a massive increase in children’s learning rate,” McMillan enthuses. “Teachers close to hubs say that children’s test scores have increased significantly.”
In March 2020, Hello World will launch two initiatives. The first is Hub Heroes, in which 100 mothers or caregivers will be given a tablet with educational software to take back to their families and trained in how best to use them. The second is a vocational and skills training programme, to help women and girls take what they have learned at the hub and turn it into vocational skills.
Featured image: Hello World