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According to recent estimates, almost 2.5 million Syrian children are out of school because of conflict. Many have to cope with traumas and high levels of stress, which also affects their learning ability.

Norway has this week launched a new development tool that makes it possible for children to learn to read in areas where schools have been bombed and teachers and families have been forced to flee. With the help of some of the world’s tech giants, Norway has developed two game-based learning apps that can be used anywhere.

‘We must apply modern technology in new ways to ensure the right to education for all children. As most Syrian families have smartphones, these games have the potential to reach millions of children whose native language is Arabic. In the long term, similar games may be used to help children in other parts of the world who are not able to go to school,’ Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.  

Last week she invited Syrian children who had fled from Aleppo to test the games in her official residence, together with Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

Syrian children in Jordan and Lebanon have tested the games; these are countries that are hosting several million Syrian refugees, and where the educational capacity has been stretched beyond its limits.  

‘The conflict in Syria has now entered its seventh year. Intense efforts are being made to rebuild schools and establish temporary education opportunities,” said Foreign Minister Børge Brende

The games have been developed through an international competition led by Norad together with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and in partnership with All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, the mobile operator Orange and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). The EduApp4Syria project is part of the Government’s global education efforts. Approximately 20 % of Norway’s aid for the Syrian crisis, which totalled NOK 2.7 billion in 2016, has been allocated to education.

Press release from the Norwegian Government

Background information from Norad