On 21 August, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) hosted the 'Education Development and Support for Children’ conference, in Damascus, to discuss the achievements of the Agency’s education reform, launched in 2011, and update stakeholders about its progress.
The annual two-day event was opened by the Officer-in-Charge of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, Mr Abdallah Al-Laham, who noted that despite the ongoing conflict, UNRWA was providing educational services. “On the contrary, the Agency has been able to adapt its plans to meet the needs of the Palestine refugees, and rise to the challenges faced by its staff and facilities as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria,” he said, commending UNRWA teachers’ commitment to improving the lives of displaced Palestine refugee children. He congratulated the education staff for their efforts to develop self-learning materials for children whose education had been disrupted.
Expressing the Agency’s gratitude to regional and international partners, Mr Al-Laham noted that some 23 out of 118 UNRWA schools were offering for summer education classes for around 8,000 Palestine refugee students in the first through eighth grades. “With the help of the Ministry of Education we were able to continue providing education in crisis to build a solid educational foundation for displaced Palestine refugees in Syria,” he said. Mr Mohammad Ammouri, Chief of the Field Education Programme, echoed his comments.
Mr Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees (GAPAR), noted that “despite the conditions Syria is passing through,” Palestine refugee children had received important support from the Ministry of Education. Dr Caroline Pontefract, UNRWA Director of Education, noted that the Agency’s education reform was closely linked to the importance of continuing to provide education in emergency situations. By being innovative and adapting its services to the current situation, the Agency was helping to meet the increasing needs of displaced Palestine refugee children in Syria.
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