3 Things to Note this June in Global Development News
Here are some of the stories on global development that caught our attention in June:
1. Canada and partners announce historic investment in education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situations.
At the close of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Québec earlier this month, Canada, along with the European Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the World Bank, announced an historic investment of close to $3.8 billion for girls’ education in crises. A financial contribution of this significance is groundbreaking and has the potential to impact more than 8 million youth around the world. This commitment will go a long way in meeting the urgent, global need to help get the 263 million children who are currently out of school back into the classroom and learning. These funds will provide girls living in some of the world’s most difficult places with hope for a better future.
Just in time for World Refugee Day on June 20, UNHCR released their Global Trends report for 2017. Once again, the number of displaced persons and refugees globally increased in 2017. The total number of displaced persons grew by 2.9 million to a total of 68.5 million. The number of refugees also increased from 22.5 million in 2016 to 25.4 million. Youth remain disproportionately affected by the displacement crisis, with 52% of displaced persons under the age of 18. UNHCR states that this increase has been fuelled in large part by new crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Myanmar, as well as the ongoing conflict in Syria. Read the full report here.
3. Academics Debate the Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning.
Last month, researchers from Queen’s University wrote an article for University Affairs entitled “Online learning isn’t as inclusive as you may think.” They highlighted the risks associated with digital learning platforms, such as “a sense of isolation and a lack of community for both students and faculty.” Researchers from Athabasca University were quick to respond this June with an article entitled, “Dispelling the misconceptions of online education.” In it, they argued that a sense of community can be built by the instructors, and that there are many strategies and resources that exist to help them to do so. We’ve been reading this conversation with great interest, following our own report on digital and blended post-secondary education for refugee youth. In refugee contexts, we have found that online education alone assumes a level of digital competency, student engagement and self-directed learning that is not always realistic. Blended learning approaches that involve some degree of mentorship and group discussion are generally more successful in improving learning outcomes, and promoting intercultural and team-working skills essential in the global economy.
More news from WUSC:
WUSC Local Committees in Toronto co-organized a city-wide walk-a-thon for World Refugee Day.
Our student-led campus groups in Toronto partnered with local settlement agencies and non-governmental organizations to mark World Refugee Day on June 20 with a “Walk with Refugees” downtown. Over 200 people attended the all-day event, which included performances by local artists. Each stop on the walk featured community speakers sharing positive stories about refugees.
We joined our network in celebrating the many accomplishments of our Student Refugee Program alumni on their graduation day! Over the past four years, 437 refugee youth have been welcomed onto Canadian campuses through the SRP. Many of these students are now graduating and taking the next steps on their journey toward a brighter future for themselves and their families. Read more about a couple of the remarkable graduates this year.