Lebanon is the only field where we offer secondary education. In total, we serve 31,753 students at 69 schools throughout the country. UNRWA also operates two vocational training centres, which reach 1,082 students.
Our office has taken a special interest in inclusive education for students with disabilities. Around Saida, we are piloting the Special People Special Focus (SPSF) project, in coordination with other UNRWA departments as well as NGOs. The project includes awareness-raising campaigns for school staff, parents and community members; building teachers’ capacity to identify students with disabilities; and forming Student Support Teams at the school level.
Support from the EU has enabled us to offer two other projects that also include inclusive education components, such as adapting schools to be accessible for students with disabilities, implementing American University of Beirut (AUB) survey recommendations to improve the school health environment; and recruiting a group of psychologists and psychiatrists to support schools in identifying and responding to the diverse psychosocial needs of students.
We are consistently focused on improving our curriculum, and have established committees both at the central and at the area levels as a preliminary step to implementing the Curriculum Framework. Standards, instructional materials and tools have already been introduced and shared with education specialists in the field; curriculum analysis based on the framework will begin in January 2014. A new School Management System (SMS) has been developed, which built a comprehensive databse network to help us monitor and evaluate the progress of our schools.
We are especially proud of our planning for the summer of 2013, which targets almost all UNRWA students, including those Palestine refugees displaced from Syria. From 17 June to 5 September, we will offer opportunities for recreation, learning support and English. With the support of NGOs including Norwegian Refugee Council, Unite Lebanese Youth Program and Nabe’, we will offer several other opportunities to help students at all grade levels learn and grow.