New Program Pioneers Digital Learning Opportunities for Vulnerable Students in Jordan
Feb 5, 2021 | Amman — Anera’s new partnership with Thaki, on a project funded by the Catalyst Foundation for Universal Education, puts laptops preloaded with a rich array of educational materials and resources in the hands of refugees and vulnerable host community students and their teachers.
Thaki and Anera are implementing the project in community and education centers in Jordan. The 12-month pilot program will be implemented as an after-school, non-formal educational program. The initiative crosses the digital divide by addressing internet connectivity constraints and ensuring that students have access to education during a time when remote and digital learning is more vital than ever.
Thaki, as the project lead, is developing a digital toolkit of teacher training materials and teaching resources whose framework is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, digital intelligence (based on the DQ Institute framework of digital literacy, digital skills and digital readiness), and 21st-century skills targeting the 4 Cs of education (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) and the 3Rs (reading, writing, and arithmetic).
“I’m a big believer in using technology to ignite the passion for learning and nothing has opened my heart more than seeing refugee children engaging with our tools and just want to do their best,” said Rudayna Abdo, the founder of Thaki.
The program addresses gaps in the education system by providing needed and accessible enrichment materials that complement and fill the gaps in the formal education sector in the Middle East. Anera’s senior director of new business development, Dina Dukhqan, says that “teacher training is an integral component of the program design and very much needed in Jordan.” With budget constraints, teachers are not receiving sufficient training. According to a recent UNICEF study in Jordan, “limited training and professional development for teachers and leaders, affect the quality of education.” As part of this project, teachers learn skills and gain experience in digital teaching methods so that they can provide access to digital learning opportunities for children. The program also addresses challenges imposed by the pandemic by giving teachers the opportunity to expand their ability to teach in a remote-learning environment using digital academic materials.
The laptops provide user-friendly, offline learning content, including teacher-training and student-learning materials, equipping teachers and children with valuable skills needed for future employability. The supplementary educational content is regularly updated to reflect changes in learning trends and the unique needs of each population. Thaki laptops are repurposed, gently-used devices that are fully refurbished, creating a circular economy model of hardware reuse as an e-waste management strategy. The devices receive an extended life as well as proper eventual disposal, providing a green solution and keeping toxins out of landfills.
Since 2018, Anera has partnered with Thaki in Lebanon in its ongoing, UNICEF-funded program providing Thaki laptops to refugee and host community youth in technical, vocational, remedial, and life skills courses. To date, 1,000 students have benefited from this collaboration. In Lebanon, 86% of surveyed teachers reported a positive impact on student motivation as a result of using Thaki computers, and 83% reported a positive impact on student learning.
The pilot program will be monitored and evaluated by the Center for Lebanese Studies, an academic institution affiliated with the University of Oxford, to track the program’s impact on student learning and teacher instruction. There will be a total of five cohorts in Jordan, averaging 25 to 30 students, and 18 teachers who will be intensively involved in this program.
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Since 1968, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate humanitarian relief and for sustainable health, education, and economic development efforts. Our staff are from the communities they serve, navigating the politics that constrict progress to get help where it’s needed most. We will keep building better lives until hope finds its way in the Middle East.
Captions (from left): (1) Badria is a student in Burj El Barajneh Palestinian Refugee Camp in Lebanon using a Thaki laptop to further her education. (2) A training of tutors at Anera’s Beirut office on Thaki laptops. (3) Mariam, a tutor in Anera’s informal education program in Lebanon, uses at Thaki laptop.