Stage 3: Proof of Concept
Refugees, Higher Education and Digital Inclusion & Connectivity
Refugees, Higher Education and Digital Inclusion & ConnectivitySEE LESS
Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon
Iraq, Jordan and LebanonSEE LESS
Countries Implemented In
Only 1 refugee in 100 has access to higher education. Despite tremendous talent and existing qualifications, young refugees face numerous obstacles when wishing to enroll in universities: language barriers, lack of degree recognition and financial resources.
Technologies open up learning opportunities through MOOCs. But more than 50% of refugees do not have access to the Internet. In rural areas, only 22% of refugees are connected. And when they are, their connectivity is often too low-quality to stream MOOCs.
Kiron provides digital learning opportunities for academic, professional and personal growth. While it currently serves above 6000 refugees, there are beyond 2 million refugees of tertiary-education age. The major barrier to the program’s dissemination is refugees’ lack of access to connectivity. Therefore Libraries Without Borders (LWB) and Kiron partner to provide offline access to digital learning for refugees.
We target young refugees across the world who are currently disconnected: in refugee camps, in off-grid rural settings or refugees who cannot access the Internet because of the costs of connectivity.
More than 2 million refugees are of age of attending tertiary education (between 16 and 24 years old). Most of them attended high school and were forced to dropout of university or vocational training because they had to flee their country.
Mission and Vision
We aim at unleashing the potential of refugees by providing them with access to learning and skills development opportunities. We will impact the lives of 1 million refugees who will be trained via MOOCs and receive certification. Certification is essential as it enables the validation of equivalency with in-person academic curricula.
Leveraging LWB’s experience in offline internet technologies and Kiron’s blended learning experience in higher-education, we have designed a double-tiered strategy for the diffusion of MOOCs to refugees in off-grid regions:
Providing individual offline access to MOOCs and certificates from the world top-universities using SD cards. The user inserts the SD card in their smartphone. Through a free Android app, they access dozens of MOOCs, watch the videos, do exercices, and validate the tracks using SMS-data even when they lack connectivity.
Equipping collective learning spaces (shelters, community centers...) with local servers uploaded with MOOCs: groups of learners can gather in learning spaces and connect onto these servers to access MOOCs.
The main competitor for our solution would be online connectivity systems. However while broadband companies predict global internet coverage in 10 years, experts at the Alliance for Affordable Internet report that universal access is at least 30 years away. And even then, the costs and connectivity quality will likely prevent the most fragile individuals from accessing the same opportunities than the more privileged populations.
Kiron is the only free online education provider with such an extensive reach and broad offer. Other digital education providers are either too expensive for refugees, or focused on one specific region (such as refugee camps in the case of InZone or Jesuit Worldwide Learning) or a specific topic (such as entrepreneurship in the tech sector in the case of for instance the ReDi School).
Our solution constitutes a unique opportunity to provide access to high-quality education to refugees who are disconnected from the Internet.
The Team Behind the Innovation
EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN