An issue yet to be addressed.
With Covid related restrictions being at the forefront of most people’s minds at the moment, Direct Provision has been thrown into the limelight again.
Many have questioned how those in Direct Provision can safely self isolate when many are living in over crowded situations with poor cleanliness conditions.
Another huge issue is of course how children in Direct Provision can access education with children the country over learning remotely via the internet – something many children in Direct Provision do not have access to.
Recently I spoke with Donnah Sibanda Vuma, a mother of four and former resident of the direct provision system, about what changes need to be made to ensure children in DP receive an education.
“Currently, there are approximately 1700 children living in the direct provision system.
The biggest challenge at the moment is access to online resources and online applications that are being used by different schools such as Seesaw, Classdojo, Alladin, Zoom and Google applications. There is also a great need for printing facilities as worksheets that assist with learning sometimes need to be printed.
Access to WiFi is very limited in many centres, and in centres where it is provided, it is usually restricted to the reception area. The broadband width does not reach residents’ rooms to allow access.
At the moment, most children are having to use their parent’s phones to access their lessons. This is especially stressful for students who are in secondary school and trying to focus on their final year studies.”
Vuma goes on to explain how she has personally tried to rectify this educational challenge for children in Direct Provision;
“I am the founder of the community group Every Child Is Your Child which was set up with the intention of establishing an ongoing fund to assist children living in direct provision with back to school provisions such as uniforms, stationery, books etc, and to assist with school-related costs such as book rental, extracurricular activities.
The need for the initiative was driven by the experiences and challenges faced by parents that are trying to rear children while living in the DP system with no right to work and €38.60 a week to meet their needs.”
When I asked Vuma what needs to be done to improve the education of children in Direct Provision, she said it really just comes down to all children receiving the basic educational necessities;
“The WiFi range needs to be extended to reach residents’ rooms so that children can have frequent and adequate access to the internet and access their lessons.
IT devices, laptops, and tablets need to be provided to every school-going child so that they are able to access their schoolwork and communicate with teachers. Children are falling behind on their work and need to be able to keep up with their peers.”
You can find out more about how you can support Every Child Is Your Child here.