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February 18, 2021
Zahle, Lebanon, is home to more than 7,000 students in public primary schools, including eight-year-old Krysta Al Arjaa, who attends the New Zahle School and is the youngest of four children.
Across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools, universities and many other sectors to move classes and operations online. In Lebanon, already contending with an economic crisis, the situation was no different. The country endured several lockdowns to contain the virus’ spread, which impacted livelihoods, businesses and education. At the start of the pandemic, Krysta’s school moved to online learning and although she is tech-savvy, studying online has still been a challenge.
Funded by USAID and implemented by World Learning, the Quality Instruction Towards Access and Basic Education Improvement (QITABI) 2 activity supports primary school students like Krysta during the pandemic. As part of this initiative, QITABI 2 Krysta received an educational box, which contained reading books based on reading levels, math manipulatives and stationary. “We are so happy to receive the educational box,” her mother, Fabiola, said.
Fabiola added that her daughter was overjoyed with the reading and math materials from USAID. “Amazingly, Krysta has read the storybooks so many times that she can now recite them!” she said. “Krysta also used the box’s materials to help her in completing school assignments for math.”
The educational boxes have been distributed to all 148,200 students in Lebanese primary public schools and are designed to improve students’ engagement in learning while at home. An additional 56,000 boxes will be distributed to new students in public schools, as well as students in low-cost, faith-based private schools across Lebanon this year.
Through QITABI 2, USAID has also developed and posted hundreds of free online resources, including lessons, animated social and emotional learning activities and e-stories targeting primary school students. The resources all align with the Lebanese curriculum and the national distance learning initiative and aim to help students advance their education during the pandemic.