This session will look at collaborative approaches to innovations in education through the lens of the eLearning Sudan (ELS) programme. Drawing on research from the International Network for Education in Emergencies, UNICEF, and the Brookings Institution, it will provide an insight into an education project undertaken in a conflict-zone; a multi-disciplinary approach drawing on theory and practice from education, psychology, international development and technology; and the chance to engage in a real-time discussion on collaboration.
ELS is the story of a range of people and organisations, in Sudan and internationally, learning to ride together – all in the same direction. It is the story of using innovative thinking and programming to try and address the challenges faced by the 27 million primary-aged children in conflict-affected countries who are excluded from education. It is also a travelogue of a long and bumpy road, travelled together by Ministry officials, universities, communities and civil society in Sudan alongside development, technical and research practitioners internationally.
eLearning Sudan is a model which gives children access to quality education which has been denied them. Using laptops, solar power, and courseware built around a digitized version of the official curriculum for out-of-school children, ELS brings education to children in their own communities, and supports self-directed learning which fits around their other commitments such as bringing income into the household. It is a cost-effective and pedagogically robust curriculum-based model which has buy-in at Ministry of Education level and has the promise to transform education in multiple conflict-affected regions worldwide. This project could ‘level the playing field’ for tens of thousands of children who are now denied this most basic of rights, creating new opportunities for engagement in delivering quality education at Ministry, community and other levels.
E-learning Sudan uses innovative methods to respond to the challenges for children in post-conflict countries. These are:
- Tools – developing courseware based on the existing out-of-school curriculum, and making this available to children in their own isolated communities via ICT;
- Practice – building the skills to facilitate children’s learning within communities and the Ministry rather than focusing on traditional teacher training;
- Methodology – using ICT to replace traditional schools and thus, potentially, fast-forwarding the Ministry of Education’s ambitions to provide universal access to quality education. The traditional model, building an adequate number of bricks and mortar schools in remote locations would take decades to complete, and leave a generation without education opportunities.
ELS is a research pilot, in stage 2 of proving the educational soundness of the approach. Robust research into the educational and psychosocial impact of the project is a key focus of this phase. Developing structured collaboration is another significant element, as preparations for scaling or replication take place. By exploring how this collaboration works, the need to develop a shared vocabulary, and the challenges in getting it wrong, this presentation will introduce conference participants to the sharp end of innovating around the big challenges in making education accessible for the most vulnerable children.
|Affiliation||War Child Holland|