Taking on the world: Palestine Refugee Students in Lebanon Receive International Recognition

09 January 2020
UNRWA school staff accept an International School Award accreditation in Beirut, Lebanon. © 2019 UNRWA photo by Rabie Akel.

Refugee students are not always afforded their basic human right to education, but when Palestine refugee students got the chance to compete in an international competition they didn’t waste an opportunity to prove themselves. In Lebanon, some 37,000 Palestine refugee students are being educated within 65 UNRWA schools and during the 2019 academic school year, six UNRWA schools were proud to receive the International School Award (ISA) accreditation at the International School Award Ceremony. This recognition brought the number of ISA accredited UNRWA schools in Lebanon to seventeen! The ISA, awarded by the British Council, is a global accreditation programme that recognizes best practice of incorporation of international education in syllabi. Not only does this align with the Agency’s vision, but is an initiative endorsed and supported by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon.

The ISA acknowledges the efforts of schools that work on developing universal values and skills, raising standards and supporting the SDGs across their curriculum and in their  well-equipped school environment. Incorporating an international dimension into everyday teaching and learning positively impacts the whole school community, not just students and an ISA is testament to the drive and commitment of UNRWA school communities and is recognition of local and international efforts of all students, teachers, principals, parents, NGOs and CBOs involved.

The six UNRWA schools awarded ISA accreditation this year are located in the different areas where UNRWA operates: Acre Co-Educational Elementary School in Saida, Al Bireh Elementary School in Central Lebanon Area, Amqa Secondary School in Nahr el-Bared, Palestine Preparatory School in Tyre, Sammou Preparatory Boys’ School in Ein El Hilweh camp, and Toubas School in Nahr el-Bared.

Mohammad Mustafa a student in Palestine School, Tyre area, expressed his happiness saying, "We are proud of our success! The most I liked was that we participated in planning and implementing all activities. Working with students from Egypt and Italy was a great experience and all has helped us to develop our knowledge and skills.” 

Hatem Asaad, Toubas school principal commented saying, “The participation of our schools in the ISA this year, was of great importance in terms of International education. Engagement with a group of schools from Lebanon, and from Pakistan, India, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, on SDG related themes, related to environment, health, heritage and human rights activities was so useful and interesting.” Hatem adds, “The school students interacted with these activities that touched the reality of their lives and learned about the cultures and customs of other countries. This has reflected positively on the level of their educational achievement. We look as management, teachers, students and parents for more opportunities in such and other competitions. Such determination shows how much committed and resilient we are to providing quality education and achieving excellence and success.”