News / Middle East

Not Enough Space in Lebanon’s Schools for Refugee Children

FILE - Syrian refugee children attend an English lesson inside a makeshift school tent during a visit by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.
FILE - Syrian refugee children attend an English lesson inside a makeshift school tent during a visit by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.
United Nations officials say a third of the Syrian refugees pouring into Lebanon are school-age children. Most of them have been in Lebanon for more than a year, many even longer, but the majority have no access to formal education.

Marah, 11, has been in Lebanon for a year-and-half, living in a makeshift refugee settlement near the coastal city of Tripoli. She, along with her parents and four siblings, fled the outskirts of Homs, Syria after their farmhouse was struck in a rocket attack.

Despite living in a small two-room house made from cast-off building materials,  Marah is luckier than her siblings. She is attending school.  

She says it is difficult to adjust from the Arabic-based Syrian curriculum to Lebanon’s French-based one. She tries to get along with her Lebanese peers but there are problems and they sometimes mock her and other Syrian students for being refugees.

Problems or not, at least the eleven-year-old has a chance of fulfilling her ambition of becoming a nurse. In her settlement there are about 200 families and she is one of only a handful of children being educated.

It is the emergency needs of the refugees -- from food to medical care -- that get most media coverage and the bulk of humanitarian funding but as the Syrian civil war drags on, the longer-term needs of the refugees are coming to the fore.  The lack of education opportunities for refugee children is preoccupying the representative of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon, Ninette Kelley.   

“The situation of children is rather dire," said Kelley. "There are over 300,000 new Syrian school age children, which is the same number of Lebanese children who were registered at Lebanese schools last year. And while the ministry of education has indicated they could absorb 100,000 in the formal education system that still leaves over 200,000 without a formal education option.”

The U.N., along with its NGO partners, is now trying to provide basic literacy classes for youngsters, focusing efforts on the tent settlements that are springing up because the Lebanese government has refused permission to build formal refugee camps.

According to the U.N., there are more than 248 of these makeshift settlements in the country now.

Kelley says basic literacy classes are not going to meet the needs of older children in the camps.

“But then there is also the worry of the youth who have had quite substantial education but literacy classes are not enough for them," she explained. " So we are working with all of our partners to mobilize Syrian refugee teachers and other community workers to provide for other forms of informal education across all age groups. But it is a significant challenge.”

U.N. workers say funding for the informal education options that are being explored is a challenge; another problem is that the nearly one million Syrian refugees now in Lebanon are widely dispersed, creating transportation and logistics bottlenecks.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dan from: Nairobi KE
February 03, 2014 11:43 AM
May God grant them peace this is tatal suffering.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid