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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid