Pathway of Hope: A Learning Certification Solution for Internally Displaced Children in Northern Syria

  • Jen Steele


The author reinvigorates the topic of learning certification for displaced children in this chapter, which focuses on education service delivery in conflict-affected northern Syria. It assesses existing evidence from past certification programs in similar contexts, analysis threats to uncertified learning, and effective pathways to certification. From this, it identifies a durable solution to enable recognition of the completion of accredited basic education for children in northern Syria. Recommended protocols for such a scheme are provided in this chapter. It further posits that the establishment of a supranational regional certification body, under the auspices of UNESCO, must be considered to carry forward these recommendations if the humanitarian community is to help prevent a lost generation of Syrian school children.


Certification Scheme Syrian Refugee Palestinian Refugee Durable Solution Certification Effort 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Works Cited

  1. Banco, E. 2014, July 2. ISIS Kidnaps More Than 130 Syrian Schoolchildren; International Leaders Yet to Respond. International Business Times.
  2. Chelpi-Den Hamer, Magali. 2007. How to Certify Learning in a Country Split into Two by a Civil War: Governmental and Non-Governmental Initiatives in Côte d’Ivoire, 2002–06. Research in Comparative and International Education 2(November 3): 191–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. ———. 2011. Why Certification Matters: A Review of State and Non-State Actions in Côte d’Ivoire for Promoting Schooling for the Displaced. Journal of Refugee Studies 24(1): 69–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dryden-Peterson, S., and M. Jalbout. 2013. Back to School: Even in Syria, Education Is About Hope. The Huffington Post, September 6.
  5. Figueroa, A. 2013. 8 Things You Should Know About Corporations Like Pearson that Make Huge Profits from Standardized Tests., August 6. San Francisco: AlterNet.
  6. Gerstner, E. 2009. Hope for the Future: Issues of Educational Certification in Dadaab, Kenya. In Certification Counts: Recognizing the Learning Attainments of Displaced and Refugee Students, ed. J. Kirk. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  7. Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. 2014. Education Under Attack: 2014. New York: GCPEA.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2016. Who We Are. New York: GCPEA.
  9. Human Rights Watch. 2013. Safe No More: Students and Schools Under Attack in Syria. New York: Human Rights Watch (HRW). New York, USA.Google Scholar
  10. International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect. n.d. An Introduction to the Responsibility to Protect. New York: RtoP.
  11. International Rescue Committee. 2009. From Schools Started Under the Mango Trees: Certification for Refugee Students in the International Rescue Committee Guinea Education Programme. In Certification Counts: Recognizing the Learning Attainments of Displaced and Refugee Students, ed. J. Kirk. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  12. James, P. 2012. Global Leaders Demand Urgent Action for Education in Emergencies. UNICEF, September 25.
  13. Kirk, J. (ed). 2009. Certification Counts: Recognizing the Learning Attainments of Displaced and Refugee Students. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  14. Kirk, J., and R. Winthrop. 2007. Promoting Quality Education in Refugee Contexts: Supporting Teacher Development in Northern Ethiopia. International Review of Education 53(5): 715–723.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Parker, S., K. Standing, and B. Pant. 2013. Caught in the Cross-Fire: Children’s Right To Education During Conflict-The Case of Nepal 1996–2006. Children and Society 27: 372–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. REACH, SNAP, and UNOCHA. 2014. Syria Multi-Sector Needs Assessment MSNA. New York/Geneva: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOHCA). New York, USA.Google Scholar
  17. Save the Children. 2014. Futures Under Threat: The Impact of the Education Crisis on Syria’s Children. London, United Kingdom: Save the Children International.Google Scholar
  18. Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council. 2014. Hear It from the Children: Why Education in Emergencies Is Critical. London: Save the Children International. London, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  19. Sawade, O. 2009. Accreditation, Certification and Legitimacy: Education for Refugee and Migrant Students on the Thai-Burmese Border. In Certification Counts: Recognizing the Learning Attainments of Displaced and Refugee Students, ed. J. Kirk. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  20. Segerstrom, E. 1995. Focus on Refugee Children. A Handbook for Training Field Refugee Workers in Social and Community Work. Stockholm: Rädda Barnen.Google Scholar
  21. Siegfried, K. 2015. Record-Breaking Year for Asylum Claims: 8 Key Trends. IRIN, March 25.
  22. Singh, M. 2005. Recognition, Validation and Certification of Informal and Nonformal Learning: Synthesis Report (Draft). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  23. Sommers, M. 2002. Crossing Lines: “Magnets” and Mobility Among Southern Sudanese. Washington, DC: USAID.Google Scholar
  24. Talbot, C. 2006. Research Framework for “Certification of the Learning Attainments of Refugee and Internally Displaced Pupils” and “Opportunities for Change Within Education Systems in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations.” Unpublished paper for Research Partnership on Education in Conflict, Emergencies and Reconstruction of Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies, the University of Amsterdam, International Rescue Committee (IRC), New York; the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), The Hague; and UNESCO International Institute of Educational Planning (IIEP), Paris.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 2013. Working Paper #3: Education in Conflict: Emergencies in Light of the Post-2015 MDGs and EFA Agendas. Geneva: Network for International Policies and Cooperation in Education and Training (NORRAG).Google Scholar
  26. Tolfree, D. 1996. Restoring Playfulness. Different Approaches to Assisting Children Who Are Psychologically Affected by War or Displacement. Stockholm: Rädda Barnen.Google Scholar
  27. UNESCO. 2011. The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education. Paris: UNESCO. Paris, France.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 2012. Education Sector Strategy on Category 2 Centres. Paris: UNESCO.
  29. UNESCO. n.d.a Introducing UNESCO. Paris: UNESCO.
  30. UNESCO. n.d.b Key International Instruments by Theme. Paris: UNESCO.
  31. UNHCR. 2003. UNHCR Education: Field Guidelines. Geneva: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Geneva, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 2004. Protracted Refugee Situations. EC/54/SC/CRP.14. Geneva: Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme.. Geneva, Switzerland.
  33. ———. 2013. Note on the Mandate of The High Commissioner for Refugees and His Office. Geneva: UNHCR. Geneva, Switzerland.
  34. ———. 2015b. UNHCR: Mid-Year Trends 2014. Geneva: UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency. Geneva, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  35. ———. 2015c. World at War—Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2014. Geneva: UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency. Geneva, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  36. UNICEF. 2015a. Education Under Fire: How Conflict in the Middle East Is Depriving Children of Their Schooling. New York: UNICEF. New York, USA.
  37. ———. 2015b. MENA Out-of-School Children Initiative (OOSCI): Data Snapshot. NewYork: UNICEF.
  38. ———. 2015c. New Year in Syria Offers Little Chance of Children’s Education as Schools Remain Targets of Conflict. News Note, January 6. Geneva/Damascus: UNICEF.
  39. UNOCHA. 2013. Syrian Arab Republic Syria Integrated Needs Assessment. EN/AR/TR, December 31. Syrian Arab Republic: Assessment Working Group for Northern Syria. New York: UNOCHA. New York, USA.Google Scholar
  40. ———. 2015. 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan: Syrian Arab Republic. New York: UNOCHA, Humanitarian Country Team. New York, USA.Google Scholar
  41. UNRWA. n.d. Resolution 302. Damascus: UN Relief and Workers Agency.
  42. US Department of State. n.d. Protracted Refugee Situations. Washington, DC: Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.
  43. Van der Stouwe, M., and Su-An Oh. 2009. Towards the Certification of Learning Achievements in Thailand: A Non-Governmental Perspective. In Certification Counts: Recognizing the Learning Attainments of Displaced and Refugee Students, ed. J. Kirk. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  44. Winthrop, R., and J. Kirk. 2005. Teacher Development and Student Well Being. Forced Migration Review 22: 18–21.Google Scholar
  45. World Vision. 2014. Children’s Report: Stand with Me, Our Uncertain Future. Amman, March 11. New York/Geneva: World Vision International. Middlesex, United Kingdom.Google Scholar

Interviews Cited

  1. Confidential Informant. 2015. Telephone interview. 26 April.Google Scholar
  2. Sesnan, Barry. 2015b. E-mail communication. 21 April.Google Scholar
  3. Talbot, Chris. 2015a. Telephone interview. 1 May.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2015b. Telephone interview. 24 April.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jen Steele
    • 1
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations