The Government of Lebanon estimates that the country hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees (938,531 million registered with UNHCR as of April 2019). Eight years into the Syria crisis, Lebanon continues to bear the enormous burden it has placed on the delivery of basic public services, including education. The Government has responded to the increasing demand for education, through its joint programme titled ‘Reaching All Children with Education (RACE)’, by opening up its public schools for refugees, and providing alternative pathways to education.
In the academic year 2018-2019, more than 280,000 non-Lebanese children and youth were enrolled in formal education (Kg-Grade 12). However, more than 30% children between 6 and 14 remain out of school, and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE)’s enrolment figures show a bigger gap in enrolment in secondary education, leaving more than 90% out of learning institutions. Longstanding barriers to education, such as the cost of transportation, the need to work, early marriage, among others, continue to leave many children and youth out of school and out of learning. This becomes even more significant in post-basic education, where participation remains low. Moreover, secondary education is not compulsory in Lebanon, and enrolment and completion rates in Cycle 3 of basic education (Grades 7-9) are relatively low, which in turn also affect enrolment in post-basic education.
Overview of the project
Through the generous donation of the Kuwait Fund for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), UNESCO is implementing the project ‘Reaching the Unreached: Innovative and Diverse Learning Pathways for Syrian Refugee Youth in Lebanon (REACH) – 1 and 2’. The project is designed to make a substantial contribution to bridging the learning gaps for youth and to reach the unreached amongst Syrian refugee and vulnerable Lebanese youth through quality innovative and diverse learning pathways in post basic education, namely secondary education. REACH 1 REACH 1 thus contribute to realizing education as a human right, particularly in times of crisis, and to imparting secondary school-aged youth with knowledge and skills needed to cope in the worn-torn country and to contribute to its reconstruction when the crisis ends.
The overall purpose of the REACH 1 and 2 projects is to provide quality formal and non-formal secondary education to the unreached youth amongst Syrian refugees. This will be done through:
- Providing support packages, including registration fees and learning materials, to vulnerable youth affected by the Syria crisis in Lebanon to enroll in formal secondary education;
- Providing language support to those at risk of dropping out from school to retain them in formal secondary education;
- Establishing a Girls’ Middle School in the Bekaa, in partnership with Kayany Foundation, and enrolling 160 vulnerable Syrian refugee girls in it;
- Developing a National Remedial Education Program to support the retention of Syrian refugee children in Cycle Three of Basic Education in school.