In the framework of the new project entitled ‘Enhancing Access to Secondary Education and Quality Results for Youth Affected by the Syria Crisis (EASE)’, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon and UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States – Beirut organized today a "Consultative Open Dialogue Session with Secondary School Teachers and Principals", with the aim to introduce beneficiaries and partners to the EASE initiative and provide an overview of the project and its expected outcomes, as well as identify a number of relevant topics to be addressed in further capacity development activities in order to enable schools to perform better.
More than 70 of teachers and principals from 35 schools, as well as senior representatives from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, UNESCO regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, and the Centre of Educational Research and Development (CERD), attended this event.
In his opening speech, Director of UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut, Dr. Hamed Al-Hammami, thanked the professors and directors attending this event, noting the essential role they play in this project. "Your experiences and contributions are very important to shape this project. We are truly looking forward to the recommendations that will result from this meeting", stated Dr. Al-Hammami. UNESCO Director also praised "the Ministry of education and higher education in Lebanon for being a serious partner in all the initiatives launched by UNESCO to respond to the Syrian crisis. UNESCO also appreciates the great efforts made by the Ministry to ensure the right for education for all”, he added.
Meanwhile, representing the Ministry of education and higher education, Director General Fadi yarak, also emphasized the role of teachers and schools directors, describing them as "the core basis of this project". Mr. Yarak also praised the "exemplary coordination with UNESCO who responded to the crisis since its eruption, and who perfectly understands the culture of the Ministry of Education in dealing with this crisis". The Director General further explained the RACE strategy developed by the Ministry to respond to the crisis, “focusing on integration, and giving children and young people of Syria the opportunity to learn and contribute, once they return, to the reconstruction of their country". Mr. Yarak added that the Ministry attaches great importance to guaranteeing the right to education for all people on the Lebanese territory, and have thus created the inclusive education unit for this purpose.
During the several sessions of this meeting, participants explored the experiences of a number of schools in the context of the refugees’ crisis, especially in terms of successful practices and achievements. Schools’ requirements and staff’ capacity development needs were also discussed. Teachers and directors have agreed on the importance of providing support and counselling for Syrian and Lebanese students.
The EASE Project will facilitate the enrolment of around 1500 students in secondary schools located in all Lebanese governorates. Students will benefit from direct support in the form of school registration fees, contributions to parents' councils, and stationery, while around 35 schools will be provided with needed school equipment. UNESCO will also work with the Centre of Educational Research and Development (CERD) to reinforce the capacities of a number of secondary schools. Activities include training principals and teachers.
This three-year regional initiative will be jointly implemented by UNESCO Offices in Beirut and Amman in close collaboration with the concerned Ministries of Education and will directly benefit students, teaching staff and administrators of partner schools, in addition to Ministry specialists and decision makers.