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Mia commented on Educating for agency

Hi Uchenna - Thanks so much for your feedback. We work with our local implementation partners to make our learning spaces as accessible as possible, both for those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or similar.

OpenIDEO  (Response continued)
Expert Feedback Question 4: In your expert opinion, does this Idea pass the ‘do no harm’ principles? Do you believe that there may be any unseen or undocumented risks?

-- Indeed, this is a key concern. While we want to ensure that our main focus is on providing education, psychosocial support cannot be forgotten. We are currently engaging with potential partners who can support us in providing such support, either via referrals or training our facilitators to provide this support directly to the students through the in-person sessions.

Expert Feedback Question 5: Based on your experience and expertise, is this an Idea that you’d like to see brought to life? Why or why not?

Thank you for the positive comments - we are excited to see that the experts would like to see the project brought to life. Indeed, we are aware that establishing effective partnerships will be key to the success of the project. We are currently partnering with Action Aid in Jordan and have the support of UNHCR in Kakuma Camp in Kenya to implement the pilot project. In September, our new Head of Strategic Partnerships will also join us on a voluntary basis from September, and we will devote more resources into developing partnerships with governments, businesses and other NGOs -- as well as with higher education institutions, training programmes and workplaces for the pilot and beyond.

- A greater strategic consideration of how to gain broader acceptance/accreditation of the program and its curriculum will really be necessary

- Have you considered how you would establish curriculum outcomes that might be palatable across very varied contexts?

- Who would you get to verify the value of the curriculum? Or of the trainers? Of the student level learning outcomes?

Gaining broader acceptance/accreditation/value of curriculum - indeed this poses one of the greatest challenges both in the short and the long term. Our courses are initially accredited by UWCSEA, one of the largest international schools in the world and a renowned educational institution. We are actively working with universities (locally and abroad), work places and training schemes to create pathways for students after they graduate from high school and this will be an essential area of work as we progress the project.

Curriculum outcomes - we will work to ensure that the the learning outcomes and skills acquired will also be aligned and at least on par with those of national education systems and the requirements of the labour market. This gives both quality assurance to potential workplaces and training schemes as well as international recognition of skills, making Sky School alumni more attractive employees.

Verifying the value of the curriculum - we are developing a relationship with CIS (Council of International Schools) who accredit international schools (including teachers, learning outcomes and curriculums) to ensure quality recognition and hope to start working towards becoming CIS accredited as soon as we start the pilot. We are exploring other channels, for example assessment by national bodies where we operate.

Thank you again for all of your comments and feedback!

All the best,
Polly & Mia

Dear Open IDEO and all Experts,

Thank you very much for your comments and questions about our submission. Your feedback has been invaluable to the further development of the Sky School concept and model. We would like to share with you here direct answers to your questions, and we will also update our submission accordingly. Answers are provided below each question directly.

Expert Feedback Question 1: Based on your knowledge and experience, is this a new approach or bold way of answering the Challenge question?

-- Thank you very much for the positive feedback on our model. In our research, both prior and during the Refinement Phase, we have found that flexible, accredited secondary education that also teaches 21st century skills is highly necessary.

Expert Feedback Question 2: Human-centered design starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their real needs. We are seeking to support Ideas that consider desirability, feasibility, and viability. How does this Idea measure up? How does this Idea consider user needs?

-- Thank you again for the positive feedback. Indeed, our idea has been developed through consultation with refugee learners, and we have also found that programmes that do not have rigid documentation requirements (i.e. being able to present a passport or previous school transcripts) are needed, otherwise millions of young displaced learners are at risk of never returning to school.

Expert Feedback Question 3: If this Idea is submitted from a larger organization, does it have a sustainable funding model? If this Idea is submitted from an early stage Idea, does it have the potential to develop a model for sustainability long-term?

-- Sky School is a new project, registered as a not-for-profit organisation in the UK in April 2017. We are currently seeking seed funding for the pilot project, and have secured approximately 10% of the needed costs. For our pilot project, our main source of income will be grants and donations from individuals, however our long-term financial model seeks to diversify our income to be less vulnerable.

We are currently developing and refining our model, but see that there will be three key income streams for Sky School in the future:

In collaboration with existing schools and youth clubs, Sky School will deliver social entrepreneurship courses to non-refugee populations in areas where we operate.
A membership scheme for other international schools who are interested in becoming a partner. Through such a model, member schools might pay an annual contribution, and/or commit to raising funds through their parents and wider network. Our research so far and the keen interest we have had from schools in the project suggest that this could be a very viable and mission-aligned model.
Seeking grants and donations from foundations as well as high net worth individuals, and becoming part of educational delivery programmes in emergencies.

Over the last four months, we have actively been seeking support from donors (foundations and individuals) to implement the pilot, and we have had a very positive reception as there is a lot of appetite to support refugee education, as well as interventions that utilise tech.

Indeed the premise of Sky School is to create a low-cost and scalable model that does not compromise on quality. Our organisation is lean, and our upfront costs are relatively low. The budget for the pilot is £80.000 in total, covering a period of 10 months. Our teachers are volunteers, and through partnerships with schools, they dedicate some of their time to developing and delivering the Sky School curriculum. We are currently working on an IT Partnership with Orange will means that the costs of IT for the pilot will remain relatively low.

Finally, the costs of setting up the Learning Hubs are also low. In Kakuma, the UNHCR is supporting us with a space, and we are partnering with Action Aid in Jordan who are able to give us a space that has a low monthly rent. It is also important to note that our solution does not for the moment involve the development of technology - rather we will use existing and low-cost technologies to deliver the programme.

In the long-term, our goal is to create a model where it costs less than £100 per year to educate one student.

(Responses to other questions continued in next comment)