DURATION: 05/01/2020 - 02/28/2022
FUNDER: Templeton World Charity Foundation
PARTNER: New York University’s Global TIES for Children
CONTACT[email protected]

Program Description

World Learning, in partnership with NYU’s Global TIES for Children, will perform a qualitative study to identify what social and emotional competencies are most valued by diverse stakeholders from across all eight governorates in Lebanon, and how they are defined.

Research conducted in Western, industrialized democracies has shown that social-emotional learning (SEL) programs in schools generally improve students’ holistic (i.e. academic, cognitive, and character) development. However, when SEL programs are implemented outside of Western democracies, they have more mixed results; we posit this is due to a lack of understanding of and adaptation to social and emotional competencies (SEC) valued in non-Western contexts. This project was implemented in close collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE). Due to World Learning’s work with primary schools nationwide and strong relationships with Ministry officials, the research team can access a representative sample of schools across Lebanon and involve MEHE officials who can ensure that findings leverage existing data and inform future policy decisions.

The proposed research will entail focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with students, parents, teachers, principals, and policy-makers drawn from a stratified random sample of 70 public and 17 private schools. Focus groups will target grades 2, 3, and 6, generating knowledge on holistic development during young people’s formative years. Our research findings will provide critical context to better understand the value and meaning placed on different SEC across diverse populations in Lebanon; they will also inform our development of (1) SEL assessments that will be used across all Lebanese public schools, and (2) a nationwide SEL curriculum that will be introduced within five years. For Lebanese and Syrian refugee children living at the intersection of sectarian and social tension, SEL supports that are grounded in their lived experiences are urgently needed.

Program Goals

  • Equip Government of Lebanon to be better equipped to ensure that developed SEL competency frameworks, curricula, and materials are reflective of the values and needs of children in Lebanon
  • Increase Ministry officials’ confidence in appropriateness of SEL framework and curricula for Lebanese children’s needs
  • Increase awareness and knowledge of character strengths and/their importance
  • Changes to and/or creation of policies, curricula or standards focused on promoting character development
  • Adjustments to SEL framework and formative assessment tool for Lebanese children based on context from research findings