Syrian Children Face Education Challenges in Lebanon

syr refBy Arabia Higher Ed Staff

An assessment study by the UN Children's Fund found that Syrian children living in Lebanon are facing challenges in formal education.

“Education is the best thing in life,” said a 12-year-old girl in Jeb Jannine, Lebanon. And yet, a large number of Syrian refugee children are not in school, despite efforts by governments and UN agencies.

Among the surveyed children of primary school age (6 to 14 years), 48% were found to be out of school, with the highest rate of out-of-school children found in the Bekaa (70% not attending) and the lowest in the South (32% not attending).

During interviews and focus group discussions, 66 per cent of the 80 children asked about education said they were not attending school. If the situation does not improve dramatically, Syria risks ending up with an under-educated generation.

These rates are significantly higher among children of secondary school age (15 to 17 years): 84% of children of this age group are out of school.

Failure and drop-out rates among Syrian children are twice the national average for Lebanese children.  UNHCR estimates that 20 per cent of Syrian refugee children drop out of school in Lebanon  —the biggest problem being among children over 12 years old

In general, the most reported demand-related barriers were the cost of education, child labour, child marriage, the need to stay at home, cultural reasons and transportation costs.

Supply-side barriers reported included: the school did not allow enrolment, there was no school in the area, there was no space in the school, there was violence at school or there were language/curriculum difficulties.

Some refugees also reported difficulties in registering their children for school without residency papers, although this is not a requirement from the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

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