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First ever school qualification for refugees announced

The first ever secondary school programme designed for and by refugee youths has been launched.

The qualification has been set up by Amala, an education non-profit organisation, to support 16-25-year-olds who are out of school and unable to access education in the country they’re living.

The Amala Diploma Programme was developed with the support of a school in Singapore called UWC South East Asia. The school is part of an education movement called United World Colleges, which empowers young people to go out and make the difference they want to see in the world.

According to the United Nations, 3.7m children of school age around the world are currently out of education. And only a quarter (24%) of refugees are in secondary education compared to 84% of the overall global population. The figure is even more stark when it comes to a university education, with only 3% having access compared to 37% globally.

In Jordan, where the qualification is first being trialled, these numbers are even lower, with only 4.8% of Syrians and Palestinian school age children in secondary education.

Mohammad, one of the students selected for the diploma, said:

I applied to this programme because I did not get an opportunity to finish my high school. When I left Syria, I was studying for my final exams – but when I came to Jordan, I was not able to join a local school because I had to work to support my brother who has been ill. This is my opportunity – I have been waiting for this!

Amala says that displaced youth from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Jordan and Iraq, have all been selected to form the pioneering cohort. It plans to roll out the diploma to a refugee camp in Kenya later this year, and a number of other locations following that.

The first class of the Amala Diploma Programme will study online while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, and will move back to in-person learning once it is safe to do so.

Amala was founded just a few years ago in 2017. Its mission is transformative education to create opportunities and inspire positive change in the lives of refugees and their communities.  Its co-founder Polly Akhurst said:

The Amala High School Diploma will enable out of school refugee youth to finish their secondary education, pursue a variety of educational and career pathways and make change in their communities.


Image by Amala

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