Across Lebanon, there are more than 500,000 school-aged children living as refugees in the country as a result of the war in Syria. According to Human Rights Watch more than 250,000 of these children are not attending school. While all children in Lebanon, including Syrian refugees, have a legal right to free primary education by international law, there are a number of barriers preventing many of them from going to school.
Most school-aged refugee children in Lebanon have missed out on a number of years of school, or have never attended. According to surveys conducted by UNHCR, one of the main reasons for a lack of engagement is poverty; families simply can’t afford to buy the bus tickets their children would need to reach the nearest school. Additionally, in families who are struggling financially, children are frequently sent out to work from an early age to increase family income.
As well as socio-cultural barriers, another key challenge for Syrian refugee children is that in all Lebanese schools English or French is taught alongside Arabic from the early years. This creates a language barrier for Syrian children, as they predominantly learnt in Arabic as part of the Syrian curriculum. In addition to valuable time spent away from education, the language barrier makes it difficult to keep up with the required curriculum of the Lebanese schools.
As a result, all of Salam’s education programs are aimed at supporting children from both displaced and host communities on the path towards enrollment in the Lebanese school system. For those already enrolled it’s about providing the support they need to stay engaged and learning. In order to achieve this the content of all our English, Arabic and maths classes for children are tailored to the Lebanese curriculum in order to best support children in the learning process.
As we look to focus our energy on achieving clear educational outcomes, Salam’s education programs are focused around our educational outreach Bus, Mobile Classroom and in our two community centers, our center in Saadnayel and the education center in Houch Al Harimeh.