In Lebanon, 74% of public schools use French as the medium of instruction for core subjects including mathematics and science from Grade 4 onwards. Students’ ability to learn effectively and progress is therefore highly dependent on developing functional literacy in a second language in early grades (KG and Cycle 1), supplemented by continuous, targeted, pupil-centric support from teachers in Cycle 2 onwards.
While many Lebanese students find the transition from Arabic to French medium instruction challenging, this issue is compounded for their non-Lebanese peers. These students are overwhelmingly Syrian nationals who have fled the conflict in their home country. Nine years into the Syria Crisis, half of all pupils enrolled in public schools are non-Lebanese. This presents significant challenges for the system, teachers, communities, and students themselves.
Overview of the project
The project addresses the French language barrier in early primary grades in Lebanon. In doing so it builds the capacity of education personnel, and contributes to the provision of safe, supportive spaces for learning for both displaced and host community children.
Learning a second language has enormous benefits beyond acquiring literacy and numeracy skills. It will facilitate students’ understanding of the world around them and very much equip students with future skills and prepare them to compete in a global economy and participate in a global society.
The project’s strategic objective is to promote the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in French to improve student outcomes in core subjects, which will contribute to improvements in transition and retention rates. The focus on public schools with large numbers of Syrian refugees also ensures the project targets the most vulnerable.
It does this by investing in three linked interventions:
- Supporting public schools, teachers and students, with a range of high quality, teaching and learning software, materials and equipment, focused on Francophone education.
- Building the capacity of coaches and Counsellors in the Department of Pedagogical Counselling (DOPs) at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to support teachers in French medium schools.
- Disseminating the outcomes of the project through organizing a series of workshops and seminars, and producing learning materials and resources.