By Nedjma Koval nkoval@integratedinternational.org

In Jordan one third of refugees are school-aged children between 5-17 years old. To absorb the influx of these children, Jordan’s Ministry of Education has established double-shifted public schools. However, the refugee crisis has placed complex demands on teachers who face classrooms of students coming from two or more distinct national groups, some of whom have escaped the trauma of conflict and destruction, and whose respective communities are seen as competing for finite economic resources. Teachers are unequipped to handle the ensuing bullying and conflicts in the classroom and schools, resulting in concerns that these children risk becoming part of a Lost Generation.

In response to this challenge, INTEGRATED, in partnership with Little Thinking Minds, an award winning ed-tech company, developed a multi-media approach to tackling social cohesion in the classroom. The solution – Let’s Live in Harmony – is a multi-faceted approach to respond to the educational needs of Syrian and Jordanian students in double-shifting schools. An ed-tech platform enables children to strengthen literacy while building a vocabulary of self, other, acceptance, respect and harmony through a digital leveled library of stories, while a program of teacher-led activities enable the class to put those principles into practice.

Proven Model: Let’s Live in Harmony is built off a proven foundational model tested and evaluated with grade two children in public schools, funded by USAID All Children Reading Grand Challenge for Development. Through a randomized control trial, the program was proven to statistically improve children’s literacy, as tested through EGRA in syllable segmentation, oral reading fluency, and reading comprehension. It has also resulted in increased desire to attend school, improved academic confidence, and improved social emotional learning in is initial piloting.

Scaling in Public Schools: With support from UNICEF and UK Aid, the original pilot expanded to four grades, with stories focusing social cohesion, supplemented by teacher-led activities in the classroom. Content was developed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, and is delivered within the Ministry’s co-curricular activity block. Let’s Live in Harmony is currently being delivered by 400 teachers to 20,000 Syrian and Jordanian children across four grades, in 100 double-shifting schools.

Link to Video: The Challenge and Potential of Ed-tech

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