Category:Education and instruction

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This is a meta-category for all sub-categories related to education, pedagogy, didactics, instruction, instructional design, etc.

Role of digital learning in higher education for Refugees and host communities with special reference to COVID-19


The last decade has seen a variety of natural and manmade disasters that caused emergencies. These include the worst earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, typhoons, Ebola outbreaks, cyclones, conflict, and accidents. The recent covid-19 pandemic was unique. All these emergencies in one way or the other disrupted education at all levels. The school building was damaged, teachers and students were displaced, systems were disrupted resultantly schools were forced to closure. Among these emergencies, the COVID-19 pandemic, created the largest disruption to education in history (United Nations, 2020), affecting 94% of the world’s student population and 99% of those in low and lower-middle-income countries (UNESCO, 2020). Globally, over 1.2 billion children were out of the classroom (The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever) Schools closed as social distancing measures were put in place to slow the spread of the pandemic.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) calculated 25.4 million refugees globally at the end of 2017 (UNHCR, 2018). The number of these refugees including internally displaced peoples (IDPs) drastically increased during the last few decades (UNHCR, 2016). Major driving forces behind refugee migration at the global and regional levels are socio-political instability, wars, conflicts, and environmental catastrophes (Taftaf and Williams, 2019). Consequently, migration of the refugees takes place within the countries or across the countries/continents (Abbasi and Kraly, 2017). These refugees or migrants face multiple socio-economic challenges in the hosting countries, such as a lack of access to education, health, food, and other supporting social institutions and services (Schneeweis, 2021).

Refugees Students access to higher education

Limited access of refugee students to higher education is one of the most serious issues in the world. This needs the attention of the government and non-government organizations, policymakers, humanitarian experts, and human rights activists (UNESCO, 2020). Due to uncertain socio-economic situations in the refugee’s localities (camps and host communities), some of the refugee students are deprived of receiving formal secondary and tertiary education while those who are seeking higher education face numerous and unique challenges in the hosting countries and their localities (Felix, 2016; Kleist, 2017; Canefe, 2018). It is reflected by the fact that only 3 percent of all refugees worldwide are enrolled in higher education institutions (UNHCR, 2019). Though there is a clear consensus on equitable access to higher education as reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as foundational human rights documents including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and UNESCO Convention Against Discrimination in Education (Baderin and McCorquodale, 2007; United Nations General Assembly, 2018). Within these legally binding commitments, refugees’ access to higher education in emergencies (HEiE) is urgently needed particularly in the refugee’s host countries (UNHCR 2019). These refugees host countries are being asked by different humanitarian agencies to provide opportunities for refugee students in the form of scholarships and accessibility to modern communication technologies. In particular, refugees’ access to innovative modern technologies, the internet, and equipment enhance higher education in emergencies (HEiE) through digital learning. 

Digital Learning the most feasible option

Digital learning is a widely accepted educational strategy that improves refugees’ access to higher education and develops skills and knowledge needed by migrants and refugees in the host countries (Castaño et al., 2018). Digital learning offers cost-effective and flexible solutions that could be scaled up to provide learning and skills development opportunities to migrants and refugees. The UNHCR (2016), for example, is increasingly considering digital learning to be an important way to bring flexible learning to refugees, particularly in refugee camps. It also recognizes that the effective use of technology and the internet improve tertiary education and is useful for developing skills and competencies that can be immediately useful in the host countries. Along the same lines, the European Commission also specifically emphasized the use of technological advancements and digital learning, as digital learning option provides cost-free materials, courses, and learning opportunities for refugees in emergencies (Lewis and Thacker, 2016).


Abbasi-Shavazi, M. J., & Kraly, E. P. (2017). Forced and refugee migration in Asia. In Routledge Handbook of Asian Demography (pp. 331-350). Routledge.

Anselme, M. L., & Hands, C. (2010). Access to secondary and tertiary education for all refugees: Steps and challenges to overcome. Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees, 27(2), 89-96.

Baderin, Mashood, and Robert McCorquodale. 2007. “The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Forty Years of Development.” In Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Action. New York: United Nations.

Borthakur, A. (2017). Afghan refugees: The impact on Pakistan. Asian Affairs, 48(3), 488-509.

Canefe, Nergis. 2018. “Invisible Lives: Gender, Dispossession, and Precarity amongst Syrian Refugee Women in the Middle East.” Refuge 34 (1): 39–49.

Castaño-Muñoz, J., Colucci, E., & Smidt, H. (2018). Free digital learning for inclusion of migrants and refugees in Europe: A qualitative analysis of three types of learning purposes. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(2).

Felix, Vivienne R. 2016. “The Experiences of Refugee Students in United States Postsecondary Education.” Bowling Green State University, Ohio

Ghufran, N. (2011). The role of UNHCR and Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Strategic Analysis, 35(6), 945-954

Kleist, J. Olaf. 2017. “The History of Refugee Protection: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges.” Journal of Refugee Studies 30 (2): 162–69.

Lewis, K., & Thacker, S. (2016). ICT and the education of refugees: A stocktaking of innovative approaches in the MENA region (SABER-ICT Technical Paper Series, 17). Washington, D.C.: World Bank. Retrieved from

Reference: Sengupta, E., Sahibbzada, M. G., Ibrahimi, M., Haidari, N., & Yousufi, E. (2021). Uncertainty in an Uncertain Land–Battling of COVID-19 in Afghan Educational System. In New Student Literacies amid COVID-19: International Case Studies. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Refugee Education in Crisis.

Schneeweis, N. Educational institutions and the integration of migrants. J. Popul. Econ. 2011, 24, 1281–1308.

Sukanya Mukherjee (2021). Understanding Refugee Education: An Assessment of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and India through Policy analysis: Refugee Education in South Asia Editors: Mahbub Alam Prodip et al.

Taftaf, R.;Williams, C. Supporting RefugeeDistance Education: AReviewof the Literature. Am. J.Distance Educ. 2019, 34, 5–18.

The United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees. (2016). Missing out: Refugee education in crisis. Geneva: Author. Retrieved from

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2020). UNHCR Report. Missing Out:


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Pages in category "Education and instruction"

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