UNICEF’s Education policy program aims at improving the quality of education in the public sector. It focuses on the improvement of the socio-economic status of marginalized and vulnerable.
The Syrian Crisis will be entering its ninth year in March 2019, and continues to drive the most significant refugee crisis in the world. Today, more than one million Syrian refugees live inside Lebanon's borders, of which almost 63% are of school-age and in need of affordable quality education opportunities. In addition, several thousand vulnerable Lebanese residents and Palestinian refugees are also in need of subsidized education services; their prospects of receiving this are diminished by the weight of the Syrian refugee influx.
With over 25% of Lebanese households and 75% of refugee households now living under the poverty-line, many poor families are resorting to negative coping mechanisms - including engaging in child labor and child marriage; rendering many thousands of children vulnerable to violence, abuse, and exploitation.
In Lebanon, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) has taken up a commendable leadership role in ensuring that all vulnerable girls and boys in Lebanon have access to affordable education opportunities. In close partnership with the Education Sector (including UNICEF, donors, other UN agencies, and NGOs), the MEHE drew up a five-year education response strategy called Reaching All Children with Education (RACE II). This Strategy approaches the country’s education sector response through three key pillars:
Pillar 1: Improved access to education opportunities:
Enhancing access to, and demand from, children, youth, and their caregivers, for equitable formal or regulated non-formal education
Pillar 2: Improved quality of education services:
Enhancing the quality of education services and learning environments to ensure grade-appropriate learning outcomes for children and youth
Pillar 3: Improved education systems:
Enhancing governance and managerial capacities of RACE II implementing institutions to plan, budget, deliver, monitor, and evaluate education services
Our Key Achievements
UNICEF has been MEHE’s leading technical and financial partner in the implementation of the RACE II strategy. This strong partnership has resulted in:
- An increase in refugee enrollment into formal public education: for the 2017/18 academic year, 213,358 refugee children (aged 03-18; half of whom female) were enrolled in public schools (KG-Grade 9)
- Endorsement of a national non-formal education framework: has helped tens of thousands of girls and boys complete accredited age-appropriate non-formal learning to potentially bridge them back into the formal education system.
- National Child Protection in Schools policy: launched by the MEHE with UNICEF as its lead technical partner, this policy is being rolled out in additional public schools each academic year, thereby expanding protective services to more school-children nation-wide.
- Pilot Inclusive Education School project: currently underway to integrate children with mild/moderate physical and intellectual disabilities into mainstream public schools.
- Rehabilitation of public school buildings: over 200 public school buildings have been rehabilitated in line with national standards, of which 50 were individually restored to improve accessibility to children with physical disabilities.