The refugee crisis is one of the most pressing issues in Europe today – in fact, it’s probably the most important issue Europe has faced in recent history. Regardless of what one thinks is the correct solution to the crisis, it is clear that the UK must also play a role in accommodating those fleeing war and conflict, and to this end the UK government has promised to accept 20,000 refugees from Syria over five years, 1,000 of whom arrived before the end of 2015. Among this number there are many children, and this is only set to increase with the UK’s promise to give sanctuary to unaccompanied child refugees in conflict zones, and, under increasing pressure, from continental Europe.
This presents an immense challenge for the British educational system, albeit a challenge that will have palpable, rewarding results. Teachers will not only have to take on the responsibility of teaching many of these children English for the first time but, in doing so, introduce them to our very way of life. Getting this right is essential, the very basis of their integration is resting upon it, and so we have to ask if – and to what extent – edtech can become a method of ensuring high quality language education, beneficial to both student and teacher?
This is the very sort of question edtech companies should be attempting to answer – and if the answer is ‘no’, the question should become a challenge: why not create technology that helps solve this issue? For SAM’s part, we think our service – in particular our award winning content – offers many benefits for students learning English, or who speak English as an additional language (EAL), from easy navigation to the ability to practice until desirable results are achieved, through the repetition of engaging activities. With Activity Builder teachers are also to create activities for the very specific needs of their students, or edit existing activities to make them easier to understand, for example.
As the country – and education system in particular – adjusts to the needs and requirements of those seeking asylum, we hope that we can play a positive role in the process.