SCI TURKEY: EDUCATION TABLET DISTRIBUTION
ABOUT THE PROJECT
A Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) funded project implemented in Hatay, the No Lost Generation Project’s key objective is that children under Temporary Protection have increased access to quality education in Hatay province, and families have increased capacity to support their children’s learning, development and protection. This will be achieved by supporting their access to education, support and awareness raising for caregivers and parents.
Turkish Ministry of National Education stopped all education activities at the schools on 16th March, 2020. On 23rd March 2020, The Ministry kick-started the digital education system named EBA (Eğitim Bilişim Ağı) which was devised to be accessed by the students via their computers. The teachers feed the lecture contents into the system in addition to the video recorded classes for all grades from the first grade to the last year of the high school. Upon discussions with the Provincial Directorate for Education and the Hatay Governorate, Turkey team started the project adaptation activities assuming the cessation of the education activities would be prolonged for an extended period.
As part of the Covid Adaptation endeavors, Turkey Country Office (TCO) conducted a Rapid Needs Assessment Study among the beneficiary group of 2500 students whom have received transportation support in the framework of the BPRM project.
The RNA results have revealed that 19% of the students had no access to the EBA system. Therefore, TCO teams analyzed the EBA (digital education) system.The system was engineered to ensure students can reach all records since the kick-start, they can access the system whenever they want and the teachers could distribute homework or lecture materials via the system to all students. To enable the students access to the courses, to ensure no student drops out of the school and to support the compensation of the gap caused by COVID-19 immediately, TCO decided to distribute 250 tablets with internet connection (as 19% of students were identified to lack access to the EBA system in the RNA).
The beneficiary group of 2500 students to whom TCO provided services in Hatay were called by phone in person. TCO staff applied a very short, 4 question survey inquiring the availability of access to the EBA system at their homes after receiving the consent of the students and parents and updating them on the Personal Data Protection Rules. 250 students who cannot access the EBA system were identified as a result of the surveys.
TCO staff equipped properly against the COVID-19 danger accompanied by the Ministry of National Ed- ucation officials visited each address in person to confirm the accuracy of the beneficiary info and the conditions at the beneficiary accommodations. Upon the confirmation, the students were advised on the use of the tablets and access to the EBA system by TCO staff.
PROTECTION OF THE STUDENTS
- After discussions with the official internet service provider Turk Telekom, it was clarified that a student would need 10 Gb data monthly to access the EBA system. Each tablet was equipped with internet access and 10GB internet data.
- TCO teams have evaluated the use of tablets against SCI child safe guarding principles, the principles of digital access and internet safety besides the need to prevent the access to the inconvenient web sites or avoiding the contact with malware, spam ware and other types of malign applications; teams have decided to install Samsung Knox software which blocks the wireless connection, application download, the use of cameras, and fixed the EBA software to the opening window of the tablet.
- The tablets were limited to prevent changing pages or running any other programs than the EBA program installed by TCO teams. If teachers want to distribute materials, they send it first to the TCO team, TCO team sends it via the main computer to all tablets.
FUTURE IMPLICATIONS OF THE TABLET DISTRIBUTION
The negotiations with the Ministry of Education signaled the COVID-19 crisis to last much longer than expected. At odds with the expectations, the schools may be closed during the upcoming fall & spring semesters. Even in the optimistic scenario, the Ministry assumes a half time system based on weekly rotations will be adopted to avoid any mass gathering of students.
Distributed tablets will enable a steady access to the EBA digital education system if the pandemic crisis prolongs or if the beneficiaries are subjected to the rotational schooling system.
TCO teams are working very closely with the Ministry of Education to monitor the progress of the students. The students will be checked regularly against any issues with the tablets. TCO will distribute additional education kits to the beneficiaries including regular class materials, reading books, board games, university entrance exam preparation materials and stationery items. A case study revealing the story of a successful Syrian refugee kid will be shared to visualize the impact of the tablets.