This week, a story was sent around on the OKFN open education mailing list (subscribe here) about the devastation in Syria and how this is affecting the children. The context is that there are now about 7 million Syrian children living in refugee camps. Many children are therefore not receiving an education, either because the refugee schools are too full or it is very difficult to transfer in the chaotic system. Here is a quote from the article:
“I had top grades – I wanted to study communications at university. I was in my last two years of school [when the conflict broke out], but now I have no chance to finish my education,” he told us. “To get registered in school here, they told me I must bring my school papers from Syria. How is this possible when my school and house were completely destroyed? I told them I could sit an exam to show them, but they said they have too many students already. I’ve tried to study by myself at home, but I have no access to books; I can’t learn anything. I had such hopes for a good future, but now they’ve been destroyed.“
Whilst at the OER Research Hub at the Open University, Beck Pitt asked if she could interview me to capture some of the stories I had shared during my time there and also what we at Siyavula are doing in South Africa and open education. What was meant to be a 20 minute interview, was over an hour, as I think when I start talking about Siyavula and my work, I can “rabbit on” quite a bit as I get rather excited!
I started at the OER Research Hub as part of my open fellowship on 20 January and spent two and a half weeks with the group within the Institute of Education Technology. I am now back in Cape Town at Siyavula, as we continue with our research into looking at the impact of our OER on educators in South Africa. So far, my fellowship with the OERRH has been extremely beneficial and a wonderful learning and sharing experience. Following are some of the highlights from this experience so far.