Education in Lebanon

UNRWA in Lebanon provides education services to 36,960 students (31,706 Palestine refugees and 5,254 Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS)), in its 65 schools. Lebanon is the only Field where UNRWA offers secondary education.

UNRWA education in Lebanon has been implementing the Education Reform Strategy, which is designed to meet the needs of the 21st century to help students become innovative, critical and creative thinkers. A Teacher Policy was developed, which recognised the central role of teachers in quality education and sought to strengthen professional teacher and career progression. In Lebanon field, classroom practices are being improved through the professional development School Based Teacher Development (SBTD I and II) programmes, with 878 UNRWA teachers in Lebanon completing the SBTD I, and about 479 teachers the SBTD II programme by December 2018. In addition, the Leading for the Future (LftF) programme is intended to engage the School Principals and Deputy School Principals in reflecting on their own leadership and learning new approaches, reaching approximately 101 School Principals and Deputy School Principals by December 2018.

The Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance (HRCRT) programme has been key in all UNRWA schools since 1999. As in all Fields, in UNRWA Lebanon, HRCRT concepts were initially taught through the use of supplementary enrichment materials that sought to integrate human rights-related concepts into the regular subjects taught. In 2012, UNRWA launched its HRCRT Policy and the HRCRT Toolkit was developed in 2013 to help teachers create and sustain a culture of human rights in their classrooms and schools in line with the HRCRT Policy. As part of the HRCRT programme, School parliaments of elected students represent all students and support their local communities as appropriate; in 2017 the first field-level student parliament was elected in UNRWA Lebanon. A student parliamentarian from Lebanon field represented UNRWA students in the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2017.

Lebanon field uses the UNRWA Curriculum Framework, introduced in 2013, to support the review of all textbooks and learning materials used in UNRWA schools. This helps ensure that the curriculum reflects UN values, acknowledges the Palestinian heritage and culture of the students, and meets their learning needs. From 2010 to 2016, Lebanon field also developed its own Arabic and English language textbooks, in line with the Lebanese Ministry of Education curriculum objectives, but also reflecting UN values.

Through its Education in Emergencies (EiE) programme, UNRWA supported the integration of over 6,500 Palestine refugee students from Syria in its schools in Lebanon. In the 2013/2014 school year, Syrian Palestine refugee children were taught in separate second shift schools, but full integration with the Palestine refugees from Lebanon was achieved in the 2015/2016 school year. The EiE response in Lebanon crucially emphasized support to the psychosocial wellbeing of children, with the deployment of additional counsellors to help mitigate the traumas of the conflict in Syria and displacement to Lebanon. To complement essential psychosocial support services, various recreational activities were organized.

UNRWA offers technical and vocational training in Siblin Training Centre (STC), with two main campuses, one in the south and one in the north of Lebanon. During the 2018/2019 school year, a total of 822 students were enrolled at the centre. Due to limited funding, STC had to reduce its courses offered, while seeking to preserve the quality of its services. Currently, EU external consultants are looking into ways that the technical and vocational training can be strengthened and its cost effectiveness enhanced. Lebanon field further supports the employability of Palestine refugee youth through its four Employment Service Centres (ESCs). In 2019, 201 potential Lebanese employers were contacted, and 110 job seekers found a job due to the support of the ESCs. In addition, 99 youth were given the opportunity of a paid two-month on-the-job-training, to improve skills in preparation for the job market.

In addition, support to young people is provided by the Youth Unit in Lebanon Field. The UNRWA Youth Strategic Framework for Palestine refugees in Lebanon was officially launched in May 2018, the first of its kind among all UNRWA Field Offices. In 2019, 543 youth participated in digital skills and social entrepreneurship training courses provided at the Agency’s two Innovation Labs. In addition, 327 young entrepreneurs benefitted from the mentorship of business professionals from the community. A Cash for Work project was approved for funding, providing employment opportunities to around 1,000 Palestine Registered Lebanese (PRL) and Palestine Registered Syrian (PRS) youth over the period of two years, with the aim to strengthen their livelihood and improve their living conditions.

The Agency’s Learning Support Programme (LSP) is considered instrumental in supporting students and teachers, providing 9,714 Palestine refugee students, including PRS,  with summer learning activities in August 2018, and in-class support to 7,494 Palestine refugee students, including PRS, from Grades 1 and 2 at 41 UNRWA schools during the 2018/2019 school year. Students in Grade 3 upwards are benefiting from the provision of learning support at eight (8) schools through partnerships at the local level.

Following the successful implementation of a pilot in Beddawi camp, the Addressing Violence Affecting Children (AVAC) Initiative has been rolled out to Burj Barajneh camp. Over 1,500 community members were reached by awareness-raising sessions on child protection and positive parenting, and 600 students attended theatre plays on bullying prevention in schools, and 561 caregivers attended structured parenting skills sessions.

The UNRWA Education programme in Lebanon faces, as all fields, challenges of sufficient funding to cover education staffing and non-staffing services, an evolving security context, particularly in some Palestine refugee camps, and restrictions placed on the right to work for Palestine refugees.