Underresourced, Undervalued, and Underutilized: Making the Case for Teachers in Refugee and Emergency Contexts
The number of people displaced by war, persecution, or violence has reached its highest point since World War II. According to the most recent United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate, there are 60 million refugees and internally displaced people in the world today.
Teachers are a critical resource for children in refugee and emergency settings, yet few studies have examined what motivates or demotivates teachers, especially in refugee and emergency contexts.
This article explores the key findings from field research conducted in Algeria and Ethiopia by AIR as part of a study for the UNHCR, finding that cost-effective policies and technical responses that begin to address teacher retention challenges will affect student achievement, reinvigorate teaching forces, and attract new teachers to serve in even the most difficult contexts.
The findings are organized according to seven critical factors: teacher recruitment, selection, and deployment; the teaching environment; certification; professional development; incentives; management structures; and, status and social recognition.
Since 2012, AIR has been working with UNHCR on solutions to some of the greatest education and livelihood challenges faced by both refugees and internally displaced (IDP) people. AIR has helped UNHCR on applied research studies in refugee and IDP communities in Algeria, Armenia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, Republic of Georgia, and Rwanda. One such project—a literature review combined with expert interviews and field missions in refugee camps in Algeria and Ethiopia—investigated teacher retention challenges in refugee and emergency settings.
Underresourced, Undervalued, and Underutilized: Making the Case for Teachers in Refugee and Emergency Contexts is featured in the Fall 2015 issue (Vol 14, No 3) of the International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives.