Strathclyde child care online courses clock up 100,000 enrollers

Syrian refugees with humanitarian worker. Photo copyright UNICEF (UN043078) / Rich

A series of online courses on child care, developed at the University of Strathclyde, have amassed a total of 100,000 people enrolling.

The MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), developed by academics and practitioners from the University of Strathclyde and Strathclyde-based CELCIS (Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection), reached the collective milestone after learners signed up from more than 100 nations.

The courses are designed to develop an understanding of the care needs of vulnerable children and young people worldwide and how these can be met through policy and professional practice. Two international courses were commissioned by a group of leading humanitarian and children’s rights agencies.

The free courses, delivered by CELCIS and FutureLearn, are in:

  • Caring for Vulnerable Children – exploring approaches to caring for vulnerable children, how children grow and develop and how they can be provided them with meaningful relationships
  • Getting Care Right for All Children: Implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children – uses the UN Guidelines as a framework to offer insight into how the unnecessary placement of a child in alternative care can be prevented; how alternative care can constitute a suitable, positive experience for a child when it is necessary, and how children and young people who are leaving care can best be supported.
  • Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children - available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic, this course teaches about the care and protection of unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children who are moving across and between countries. It informs the improvement of policy, practice and delivery of support services that uphold children’s rights and meet their best interests.

CELCIS Director Professor Jennifer Davidson said: “We are delighted that so many people from across the world are choosing to learn through these courses which focus on different, but equally important, areas in the care and protection of children. They offer valuable knowledge and indispensable advice to people with a personal or professional interest in the care of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

“The 100,000 participants come from so many different nations; from Afghanistan to Australia, and Scotland to Sloveniarepresented, and they can share their experiences and knowledge through the online discussions. The courses reflect the universal right of children to live, and be cared for, in the most appropriate, stable and supportive environment possible.

“The welfare of these children concerns us all. At CELCIS, we offer practical guidance and professional learning, and inform global policy, to ensure it is safeguarded.”

Professor Davidson leads the Justice for Children global initiative’s Call to Action, which provides a strategic vision that actively puts children at the centre, affirms children’s rights and promotes their capabilities and opportunities, and vigorously targets the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children this year mark their 10th anniversary, while this week is also the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.