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Alternative education beyond accelerated learning: A suggested taxonomy and program examples from Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Philippines

Mon, March 23, 3:30 to 5:00pm, Hyatt Regency Miami, Floor: 24th, Biscayne Bay View Room

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session (English)


Passage of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reaffirms a global commitment, both to ensuring that all boys and girls will have access to and complete, free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education by 2030, and to leaving no one behind—starting with those furthest behind. Yet, for many over-aged, out-of-school adolescents and youth affected by crisis and conflict (many of whom fall into the ‘furthest behind’ category), the formal schooling system may no longer be a viable option. Fortunately, a plethora of “alternative” education programming (AltEd) has emerged over the last twenty years. Alternative education programs can provide access to education and an opportunity to complete a course of learning that might lead to further studies and offer meaningful skills acquisition for life and work. Alternate methods of delivering education may also offer an opportunity to promote the skills needed for sustainable development, cultures of peace, diversity, global citizenship, and personal and human rights. Education systems can learn from alternative methods of education, particularly in times of crisis, and integrate wider forms of learning to improve responsiveness and relevance. However, while alternative education programming offers a way forward for many youth left out of the formal education system and useful practices also for the formal system, wide variability in terminology, quality, access and recognition means that currently, even when AltEd programming is available, it often fails to meet the needs of learners.
In 2019, members of INEE’s Education Policy Working Group commissioned a study that would articulate the current quality, access, relevance, and legitimacy challenges faced by alternative education programs, and offer policy makers and practitioners guidance for addressing these constraints through the identification of effective policies and practices from a number of contexts.
The proposed panel will consist of three main presentations, plus discussion. The first presentation will be made by Jennifer Flemming of the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, one of the authors of the INEE study. This presentation will share the results of the INEE study, including a suggested taxonomy and related definitions for the range of current education programming in crisis and conflict settings that is variously included under the broad monikers of ‘alternative education’, ‘nonformal education’ ‘flexible learning’ ‘transitional education’, ‘complementary education’ and other terms; a discussion of the most salient considerations and constraints related to education for youth and adolescents that is outside the formal sector; and recommendations for policy makers regarding next steps for improving the quality, accessibility and recognition of this important category of education programming in crisis and conflict.
This introductory presentation will be followed by three case studies that describe current exemplar projects of the definitions/categories described in the research. For case one, Julia Finder of Save the Children will describe their results with the Lebanon Return to Learning activity, an AltEd program that falls into the “transitional” category. For case two, Jackie Kiernan of EDC will describe a the Integrated Youth Development Activity, taking place in North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo and falling into the “Livelihood Training” category. For case three
The panel will conclude with time for questions and answers. The panel will be chaired by Cornelia Janke, coordinator of the INEE group that commissioned the study. Martha Hewison of UNHCR, who leads the Accelerated Education Working Group, will serve as Discussant.

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