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 Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid