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Norway Invites World Game Communities to Make a Learning App for Syrian Refugee Children

– We want to reach the Syrian children who are without schooling with an unconventional alternative, said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

After nearly five years of war, nearly three million children and young people from Syria have lost the opportunity to go to school. But many people have access to mobile phones. The aim of the app is to help Syrian children to learn to read, regardless of where they are located.

-To learn to read is fundamental for all future learning. We need to reach the next generation Syrians with learning opportunities where they are, whether they are displaced or living in an area where the schools are destroyed and there are no teachers left. I hope that we can get some of the best games communities in the world to be involved in developing new types of games that provide both mastery and learning, said the Foreign Minister.

The game will be a learning supplement to formal education and part of the Norwegian government’s global education initiative. Since many of the children have experienced traumatic events, the game also can help to improve their psychosocial situation.

– We are particularly concerned that the children and young people in conflict should have the opportunity to receive an education. We therefore support a variety of traditional educational initiatives in parallel with innovation and public-private partnership to create new solutions to this education crisis. Norway prioritizes education on the agenda of the donor conference for Syria and the region in London next week, says Brende.

Deadline to participate in the contest is April 1, 2016. 15 million NOK was allocated for the development of one or more applications, in addition to funding for research on the impact games have on learning and psychosocial well-being. One or two of the best games will be selected for international launch in the end of the year. Testing on Syrian users will be an important part of the competition.

Innovation Competition is coordinated by Norad together with Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). It is organized in collaboration with the partnership All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, mobile operator Orange and Utdanning-i-Krise-nettverket INEE.

More information is available on www.norad.no/eduapp4syria

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