Completion of the educational programme at the Skaramagas refugee site

The British Council completed all activities at the Skaramagas Learning Centre at the end of May 2018. The Centre catered for children living at the refugee site since October 2016. You can read more about the content and the outcomes of the project in the publication authored by external expert Marie Delaney (PDF, I MB).

About the programme

Our partnership with UNICEF at the Skaramagas Learning Centre, supported with funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), aims to ensure children’s psychosocial stability, the continuation of their education and their integration into Greek and European society through a variety of educational tools and life skills activities.

Since November 2016, the Skaramagas Learning Centre has been supporting a total of more than 500 children through the different phases of the project:

  • November 2016–July 2017
    The Centre provided English language lessons for children and teens aged 12 to 17, life skills activities in English for children and teens aged 12 to 17, and early-childhood learning activities for children aged 3 to 6, along with their parents.
  • August–September 2017
    The Centre provided English language courses and life skills activities for children and teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17, and introduced life skills activities in Greek for children between the ages of 6 and 11.
  • December 2017–May 2018
    The Centre provides English language lessons for children and teens aged 12 to 17, life skills activities and learning support for children and teens aged 12 to 17.

The core purpose of this non-formal education project is to create a more stable environment for refugee children by providing psychosocial support, and access to and continuity in education. In addition, the programme aims to offer students the opportunity to develop essential life skills which will help them adjust to their new living conditions and facilitate their integration into Greek and European society, as well as the formal school system.

Results

Evaluation of last year’s results found that all the children have made considerable progress in their English language skills, as well as in their communication, presentation and leadership skills. The programme has also focused strongly on cultural diversity, non-discrimination and understanding human rights issues.

On average, the children had missed 2.5 years of schooling, while some had never attended school at all. For the older children, re-entering the familiar environment of a classroom – and in the case of the younger ones, embarking on their first learning experience – is having a positive impact on the children’s psychosocial stability and has enhanced their confidence and potential.

Parallel activities

The aim of the parallel activities is to enhance and extend the programme, and provide the wider community with professional development and tools for the smoother integration of refugee children into Greek society. Activities include:

  • World Voice: World Voice is a versatile music and education programme that enriches the lives of children across the world. As part of the programme, we work with teachers from a diversity of cultural and educational settings, ranging from schools in the UK to refugee communities in the Middle East to teachers in the remote highlands of Kashmir, India. World Voice provides non-music specialist teachers with pedagogical resources and techniques to use singing in their classrooms, not only to support pupils’ musical development, but also to enhance their learning in a wide range of subjects. The voice is an instrument available to every child and teacher without additional resources.
  • Living Together: The project includes capacity building for teachers and youth trainers and is based on interactive learning, a methodology which has proved effective in stimulating groups and individuals to get actively involved in the learning process and in significantly improving communication and co-operation skills. Activities are specifically designed to raise awareness of the plight of refugees and immigrants around the world. Through the training sessions, teachers and NGO workers gain insights, share ideas and acquire skills relating to child protection and dealing with child trauma, as well as how to set up inclusive and resilient multicultural classrooms.

Future steps

The aim is to replicate the project’s impact around Greece by offering educators valuable tools and methodology, as well as to codify the experiences and materials in an educational toolkit that can be used to facilitate refugee children’s integration. The programme’s main objectives for the future are:

  • ensure consistency in the learning process by providing children with English language classes in a structured environment
  • enhance children’s learning capacities and hands-on oriented skills through homework support, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classes
  • support children’s wider learning through arts workshops and enrich the learning process through experiential activities and field trips
  • engage the local community in a shared learning experience and involve parents in their children’s learning
  • deliver capacity-building training sessions for teachers working in formal education and for trainers in non-formal education settings around Greece
  • design a training manual capturing the methodology and tools of refugee education, which will include examples of English language learning and life skills activities, along with psychosocial development tips.
Children, teachers and youth trainers at the Skaramagas Learning Centre

The British Council and the refugee crisis

One of our aims as an organisation is to make a lasting difference to the security, prosperity and influence of the UK, and contribute to the stability, development and connections of the places where we work: through building understanding, co-operation and tolerance, and by providing alternative pathways for young people at risk of extremism, as well as strengthening resilience in response to crises.

Since 2012, the British Council has been building on over sixty years’ experience on the ground by working to support stability in host countries and increase access to opportunity for host communities and refugees. Since the start of the crisis, the British Council has worked in over 20,000 public schools in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and has supported over 128,000 children in Lebanon and Jordan to access quality education through our work on improving teacher capacity to address inclusion and integration in the classroom. The Education Activities for the Skaramagas Refugee Camp is the first programme of its kind implemented in Europe and its activities have reached more than 500 students from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Information

For further information, please contact Eirini Kareta:

Email Eirini.Kareta@britishcouncil.gr
Telephone 210 369 2342