The prolonged lockdown caused severe effects on the quality of education provided and also slowed down the planned activities and reforms, such as early childhood education, addressing learning outcomes, new curriculum, rehabilitation works to improve efficiency, national scale-up of teachers’ performance standards, etc. This has resulted in growing learning gaps and the deprioritisation of education. Many families who relied on daily wages have lost their jobs and rely on irregular incomes or send children to work to supplement meagre pay, putting children and their families in extremely stressful conditions. More children than ever are now reduced to eating one to two meals per day.
UNHCR focuses on community interventions identifying out-of-school children and youth, providing counseling and awareness sessions and community-based solutions for those at risk of dropping out. It has set up support activities such as homework groups led by community volunteers, increased parental engagement through parent community groups, and assigned community volunteers to second shift schools to prevent violence and refer child protection cases and children at risk of dropping out to specialized agencies/ services, aiming at increased school retention.
In 2021, UNHCR has supported refugee children in different ways, including:
- Support to Out-Of-School Children and Youth: UNHCR is addressing the challenges of out-of-school refugee children, youth without prior learning, and school drop-outs through multiple means, including a standardized Basic Literacy and Numeracy Programme. In 2021, the programme supported 2,932 refugee children and 248 youth with foundational skills in literacy and numeracy. UNHCR also supported the enrolment of 274 out-of-learning youth (107 female and 167 male) in certified vocational training programmes with 17 training sessions delivered in the Bekaa and Mount Lebanon. As a result of the support provided, 59% of graduates found work in their field of training in 2021.
- Retention Support and Safe Learning Programmes: UNHCR supports refugee children’s access to safer learning environments and enhances community-based educational support that improves retention in formal and non-formal education programmes. In collaboration with partners, UNHCR created a safe learning environment for 3,713 refugee children and youth to learn and benefit from retention programs, including homework support and other catchup classes for children at primary and lower secondary age. The latter supports refugee children and youth to recover learning losses and acquire numeracy, literacy, and life skills to either transition back to formal education or enter the labor market. In addition, UNHCR supported 347 Education Community Liaisons (ECL) in 320 schools. The ECLs follow-up on refugee absenteeism in formal education, help mediate between children, parents and school management, and identify violence, bullying, and those with learning difficulties. All child protection incidents are referred via MEHE Child Protection National Policy Pathways for follow-up inside schools and to CP case management agencies for follow-up at the community level.
- Awareness-raising, Capacity-building and Advocacy: UNHCR builds on the knowledge, skills, and capacities of refugee communities for children to learn through community-based education programs. In 2021, UNHCR supported 28 specialized Education Refugee Outreach Volunteers to raise awareness on the importance of education, including distance learning. The volunteers also referred out-of-school children to education programmes available in their respective locations. UNHCR reached 63,000 refugee parents and children with awareness-raising sessions on the importance of certified formal education, COVID, distance learning, and cyber security safety among other topics.
- Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) Scholarship and Higher Education Support: The DAFI Scholarship Programme which offers scholarships and connected learning support. In 2021, DAFI scholarships and connected learning support were provided to 87 students (58 female and 29 male) to access and enroll in the Lebanese Public University (LU), among them 34 students who graduated in 2021. In addition, 50 new students were selected in October increasing the overall number of DAFI students to 750 in Lebanon since 2014. DAFI alumni are active participants in the Refugee Alumni Network led by EU-HOPES Lebanon.
Read our latest Education Fact Sheet in English.