Tutoring for refugees: an effective tool for inclusion

Contact details

Submitted by: Alexander Tucciarone, Education Content Advisor

Email: [email protected]

Website:  https://www.rescue.org/outcome/education

Introduction to the project


Lebanon and Niger


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) began implementing remedial tutoring in Niger during the 2014-2015 school year and in Lebanon during the 2016-2017 school year.

The project itself ended at the conclusion of the 2018 school year in Niger and Lebanon but research and analysis of the project remains ongoing.


The IRC’s tutoring approach supports overburdened host community public school systems in a way that specifically addresses the challenges facing refugee children.

It provides refugee children enrolled in the public school system with several hours a week of additional classroom time and academic support through our “Healing Classrooms” approach. This method infuses social-emotional learning principles and approaches into academic instruction. It supports the education of refugee children and youth in a way that enhances refugee self-reliance and eases the pressures on host countries.

Project aims

This project aims to improve the learning outcomes of refugee students by promoting students’ foundational literacy, numeracy and social-emotional skills. In so doing, this effort helps ease the burden on school systems by diminishing the need for additional support within schools, such as remedial programming.

Resources used

The primary resource expended here is the technical support for the professional development of tutors and the financial cost that entails.


  • Host governments and communities
  • NYU Global TIES for Children
  • Donors

How challenges were overcome 

A major challenge is the scarcity of research about programs responding to specific refugee children and youth needs, since it is not enough to just ensure refugee children are physically in a classroom.

Over the years, the IRC and its partners have worked on developing this understanding in crisis contexts across the globe. The organization’s assessments of its tutoring in Lebanon and Niger remains ongoing and has already yielded illuminating perspectives on program design and implementation.

However, the demand for this type of research still by far outstrips what is currently available. A broader, coordinated and sustained effort must be established and maintained if the humanitarian community hopes to meet that demand.

Results of the Good Practice

  • Our Healing Classrooms remedial tutoring programs support the integration, learning and retention of refugee students in formal public school systems.

  • Rigorous evaluations of these programs show that they achieved positive, statistically significant improvements in learning outcomes for the literacy and numeracy of refugee students who participated in tutoring as compared to control group students not enrolled in tutoring.

Next steps 

In the future, we intend to build broader support for tutoring interventions among key stakeholders in emergency settings and expand this model beyond Lebanon and Niger, into the other societies where the IRC’s education efforts are underway.