Improving conditions and prospects
Title: Rehabilitation of Lebanese Public Schools with Syrian Refugee Children and Development of School Capacities
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Special Initiative "Tackling the root causes of displacement – reintegrating refugees
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) of the Republic of Lebanon
Overall term: 2015 to 2018
Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, around 6.6 million people have been displaced within their own country. A further 4.8 million Syrians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Lebanon alone, located on Syria’s western border, is hosting around 1.2 million Syrian refugees, thereby increasing its original population of 4.5 million by almost 25 per cent.
More than half the refugees in Lebanon are children and young people aged between 3 and 18. Most parents who can afford it send their children to private schools. State schools are attended mainly by Lebanese children from low-income families and by Syrian refugee children. However, these public schools are often ill-equipped to cope with rising student numbers. Many school buildings are in a poor state of repair, and standards of sanitation and hygiene are inadequate. Teachers also lack the training to deal with traumatised children who need psychosocial support. So far, only 240 of the country’s 1,260 state schools have been able to enrol Syrian students, providing just 30 per cent of the places needed for refugee children. 70 per cent of refugee children are therefore excluded from the public education system and have no access to formal education.
The school environment for Syrian refugee families and Lebanese families in the host communities is improved
To ensure that these Lebanese and Syrian children do not become a lost generation, Lebanon is developing and upgrading its school system. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the requisite measures. Together with the project partner, the Lebanese Ministry of Education, GIZ selects schools that are in a particularly poor state of repair and in urgent need of refurbishment. Contracts for building and project management services are issued to Lebanese companies.
Furthermore, GIZ coordinates the construction work, including the upgrading of water and sanitation systems.
At the same time, GIZ and the partner ministry are jointly developing options of how to improve the learning and teaching environment at schools in order to create an inclusive school culture. Also options of how to improve institutional embedding of psychosocial support for school staff and students are discussed.
GIZ is supporting the Lebanese Government in meeting its ambitious target of providing a school place for every child in Lebanon, including Syrian refugees. With that aim in mind, the Lebanese Government and various national and international bodies and organisations have produced a strategy for action, entitled Reaching All Children with Education in Lebanon (RACE). In 2016, 200,000 Syrian children are supported in accessing the formal education system.
The project is part of BMZ’s special initiative ‘Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement, Reintegrating Refugees’, which provides short-term support to refugees and their host communities. In the long term, sustainable measures are designed to combat the structural causes of displacement, such as inequality or a lack of prospects. This particular project supports education and an improved learning environment for both Syrian refugees and Lebanese children and thus promotes social cohesion within host communities.
With Lebanon facing major challenges as a result of the crisis in Syria, the refurbishment of schools and the additional psychosocial measures will have a positive impact. A growing number of Lebanese and Syrian children are gaining access to education and thus have better prospects for the future. Regular school attendance creates stability and routine for refugee children, while host communities are benefiting from well-equipped schools. As a result, the living conditions for refugee families and local communities are improving, with positive effects on social stability.