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The UNICEF-funded program will implement the “School Bridging Program” and aid in establishing systems to enroll out-of-school children.
Nine years after the beginning of the Syrian refugee crisis, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on public education in Lebanon, the learning outcomes for basic education are still below expectations. Although Lebanon’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) has taken several positive steps for improvement, including opening a second shift for the Syrian children, the system has struggled to keep pace. It is estimated that more than 700,000 children in Lebanon are out of school and that 50,000 are enrolled in Non-Formal Education (NFE) programs.
The escalating economic crunch puts children and the entire education system at risk as the country faces enormous and unprecedented challenges. Nationwide, work and living conditions are impacted by the severe devaluation of the national currency, which has lost more than 90% of its original value. The escalating inflation rate and financial crisis has driven 74% of the population into poverty. Additionally, the country is struggling with failing infrastructure; lack of electricity, fuel, and gasoline have impacted the living conditions of families and residents across Lebanon. The compounded crises of shocks and stressors over the past two years has had a direct effect on basic education, particularly availability and accessibility of schooling. Historically, over 70% of Lebanese children attended private schools. However, families earning in Lebanese pounds are not able to keep up with tuition costs, forcing them to enroll their children in no-fee public schools. According to the MEHE, more than 100,000 Lebanese students have moved to public schools since the economic crisis broke out in 2019. With student enrollment numbers dwindling and increased teacher layoffs, private schools have now been forced to assess their ability to continue operations.
The crisis presents a unique opportunity to bring together out-of-school-children and private schools. Through the UNICEF-funded ”School Bridging Program”—a school-based bridging program—out-of-school children will be enrolled in private schools to create multiple pathways that are flexible and responsive to each child’s unique learning needs.
- Development of teaching and learning materials to address key needs
- Develop an accelerated Skills & Study package so students can achieve grade level competency within a shorter timeframe
- Hold regional-level capacity building workshops for 200 teachers
- Implement “School Bridging Program” in 18 private schools, reaching up to 5,000 students