UNHCR launches Danish teaching material on refugees

Copenhagen, 7 December 2020

Who is a refugee? Where do people flee from – and where do they seek safety? What would you take with you if you were forced to leave your home in a split second?

These are some of the questions that pupils are presented with, will get answers to, and must reflect on in the Danish teaching course På Flugt (Displaced, red), which is launched today.

The educational material has been created in a joint project between UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Danish publisher Alinea, the largest provider of teaching materials for primary schools in Denmark. The new teaching course, targeting 6th and 7th graders, is online-based and can be used free of charge by teachers and pupils via Alinea’s teaching portal.

“Refugees as a topic has gained a firm foothold in both the public and political debate. It is being discussed at dinner tables, over social media and on television, but is also surrounded by numerous myths and a lack of facts. That is why it is important to ensure children and youth get insights and knowledge to be better suited to understand something as complex as the global refugee situation,” says UNHCR’s Spokesperson in Denmark, Elisabeth Arnsdorf Haslund.

In today’s debate, there is a lot of talk about refugees, who often get reduced to statistics and news headlines – but many people never get a chance to talk to refugees or hear the refugees’ own voices. To seek to address this, the educational course consists of several videos with refugees from different parts of the world who provide their own personal testimonies of what they have been through.

In this way, the teaching material will not only provide key facts and proportions in the area of ​​refugees but will also shed light on some of the human destinies behind the trends. This will hopefully help create an understanding of the people who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, violence, and persecution – a number that is unfortunately growing year by year and now counts almost 80 million people globally.

“UNHCR’s collaboration with Alinea is crucial, because they have expert knowledge on how to communicate with Danish school children, not the least in the context of the curricula and learning goals that teachers navigate today. The result is not only an interesting and strong course that is freely available, but also something that is easy to use for both teachers and pupils,” says Elisabeth Arnsdorf Haslund.

The material På Flugt – and the collaboration between UNHCR and Alinea – is the result of work, initiated by the publisher approximately a year ago with the establishment of a new department. The ambition was to create strong partnerships in order to develop the best possible future teaching materials:

“Pupils in the Danish primary school not only need to learn how to spell and count. They also need to learn to understand and embrace the world around them with all of its complexity and interesting challenges. The idea is that the world around us is best communicated if we, as a publisher, invite it into the process, so that those who are experts in their field take an active part in disseminating this knowledge to the pupils,” says editor Malene Dietz from Alinea.

Protecting the lives and rights of the world’s refugees since 1950, UNHCR has in recent years been focused on updating and producing educational material on refugees and the global refugee situation.

More information can be found here.

Find the teaching material På Flugt on Alinea’s teaching portal here.

Original article here.