Learn: Refugee Education


Question: How can we improve learning outcomes for refugee and displaced young people under 24?
Submit Solutions:
Rules: All entrants must agree to the Challenge Rules and Terms of Use

Deadline for Submission

Friday, Jan 20, 2017 at 16:59:00 PM Eastern Standard Time


Globally, over 50 million children are refugees or migrants, and account for over 50% of refugees worldwide. Providing children and young people under 24 with education throughout their lives as refugees and displaced people is critical: ensuring their education isn’t disrupted is a key step to mitigating the impact of a current crisis and protecting against a future one. During crises, education can provide children with life-saving survival skills and can protect them from violence, exploitation, criminal activity, and disease. In the long term, education can help manage the psychological impacts of conflict and displacement, counter ideas of radicalization and exclusion, and foster alternative social narratives. Throughout, it also improves health outcomes and increases economic development for individuals, families, and countries.  

Key Issues

What challenges do we face providing refugee and displaced children and youth with quality education?

Displaced children and youth have interrupted and disrupted education: refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children, and conflict-affected countries are typically among the farthest from reaching global education targets to ensure all children receive quality primary and secondary education.

Displaced children struggle to access education, regardless of where they live. Many factors limit educational opportunities for children and youth affected by displacement, including language and residency barriers, increased poverty and child labor, and early marriage and other gender-based issues. For the estimated 75% of refugees and displaced youth living outside camps and formal systems, accessing education can be even more difficult. While relying on informal learning centers, local NGOs, and online learning can increase access, their use has not yet been adopted or resourced at scale. What technological solutions or new models could help increase access to those who are not able to access formal systems?

Providing even basic education to children affected by crisis is challenging: the sheer demand for services is overwhelming, especially in places like Lebanon and Jordan, which have faced an influx of millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in recent years. Limited physical infrastructure, insufficient teachers and human capital, and violence targeting schools themselves increase the acute difficulties in delivering education to refugee and displaced children and youth. In recent years, members of the global community have piloted the use of approaches like double-shift systems, radio-based curricula, and virtual learning tools, but worldwide, schools are still overcrowded and at-risk students are still left behind. How can we improve education delivery systems?

When refugees and displaced students matriculate into new education systems, from host countries to temporary camps, communities often struggle to maintain quality learning, and to evaluate educational aptitude and place students in the correct level of education. As students progress through these temporary educational systems with the intent of eventually transitioning either back to their home countries or to higher education opportunities, it is even more difficult for communities to evaluate the quality of learning outcomes on a consistent basis. How can new tools and approaches support quality learning, and measure educational achievement?

How can Solvehelp the world’s most vulnerable children achieve their highest potential?

The Solve community aims to help fill some of the acute gaps in thinking, implementation, and discovery which exist in the effort to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. To help jumpstart additive solutions to guarantee refugee children and displaced youth learn to their highest potential, the Solve community can:

Judging Criteria

Solve judges will consider a few key dimensions as the evaluate a heterogeneous group of proposals submitted for each challenge. In addition to the criteria outlined below, judges will evaluate how proposals are uniquely appropriate for the Solve community by considering how they integrate technology, rely on cross-sector partnerships, and/or utilize the MIT community.

Judges will evaluate each proposal for their innovation, discovery, and originality to prioritize the most additive solutions, rather than rewarding traditional thinking or encyclopedic knowledge.

1 - Concept exists - no unique application
2 - Concept partially exists - some unique application
3 - Concept partially exists - unusual or imaginative application
4 - Entirely novel concept - challenges existing paradigm

Judges will evaluate each proposal’s economic, social,  political, legal, and technical feasibility to ensure winning solutions are implementable.

1 - Infeasible economically, socially, politically, legally, or technically; Potential concerns and barriers not addressed
2 - Questionably feasible economically, socially, politically, legally, or technically; Potential concerns and barriers insufficiently addressed
3 - Likely feasible economically, socially, politically, legally, and technically; Potential concerns and barriers partially addressed
4 - Feasible economically, socially, politically, legally, or technically; Potential concerns and barriers fully addressed

Judges will evaluate each proposal’s projected impact to identify which solution best meets the stated goals and objectives of each challenge. For example, for Learn challenges, impact may be evaluated based on the projected number of children reading at grade level. NOTE: Proposals should clearly define both their projected impact and their monitoring and evaluation metrics.

1 - Impact and benefits unclear
2 - Limited benefits; minimal impact
3 - Modest benefits; moderate impact
4 - Large-scale benefits; high-impact  

Judges will evaluate the quality of presentations, including the quality of writing, use of graphics and visual elements, and any inclusion of compelling artistic representations. Proposals that are well-presented will be favored.

1 - Unclear; lacks persuasiveness and visual appeal
2 - Somewhat clear, persuasive, and visually appealing
3 - Clear, persuasive, and visually appealing
4 - Highest-quality; very clear, persuasive, and visually appealing 

What happens if your solution is selected?

After the judges’ evaluation, selected solutions will be invited to pitch at Solve at United Nations on March 7, 2017. Live in front of judges, the selected participants will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to a live audience composed of cross-sector leaders. The best solutions will be selected as Solvers and will receive support from the Solve community and be invited to and featured prominently at Solve at MIT in May 2017.

Solver Support - March – May 2017
Dedicated Solve staff will work with Solvers to:

Solvers at Solve at MIT - May 2017
Solve at MIT is the annual flagship 300+ person event for Solve, bringing together the Solvers and leaders from the private, public, non-profit and academic sectors. Solvers will present their solutions and announce partnerships and other progress since their initial pitch to Solve at MIT participants.

Solvers and their solutions will be featured on stage, in online and written materials, and through dedicated challenge workshops. Further, Solve staff will continue supporting Solvers on-site through brokered introductions. The objective remains to attract partnerships with other Solve community members that make Solvers’s solutions a reality.