Kavli back to school Lebanon
Refugee children in Lebanon keeping up at school
Syrian refugee children avoid dropping out of school with The Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) learning support classes. Kavlifondet’s contribution has made the project possible.
Text: Caroline Graasten Holt
The two brothers Myassar (8) and Ahmad (7) joined the NRC’s learning support project in Bourj al-Shemali in Tyre. The boys were discovered by NRC’s education team while playing in their neighbourhood. They had seen the other children at the learning centre, and were curious about joining. NRC contacted the neighbourhood school, which confirmed that the boys were already registered there. The school principal gave them access to the boys’ results in order for NRC to map their knowledge level.
The boys were offered transport to the learning support course and to their school, to ensure they would get there safely and in time. During the first weeks, Ahmad and Myassar would stand outside the centre’s gates, waiting for it to open. A post-test and feedback from the school principal at the end of the school year have shown that Ahmad and Myassar have improved academically.
Avoid dropping out
In December 2015, a learning support project was established to help refugee children returning to the public school. The main goal was to help refugee children who are struggling to keep up in class, enable them to reach their full potential in school, and give them the opportunity to benefit from their right to free education and avoid dropping out of school.
“The learning support courses contribute to make a difference for refugee children who are meeting more challenges in the Lebanese school system. They need additional support, especially in English, since the children are not used to studying a foreign language,” said Education Specialist in NRC, Marta Schena.
563 children receive support
At the beginning of the project, the children were followed up in the public schools by NRC’s education team. To decide who among the children had the greatest needs for learning support, NRC organised mapping tests based on the Lebanese curriculum. A total of 563 children between 6 and 14 years of age were registered in the project and spread to seven chosen projects areas in the cities Tyre, Saida and Nabatiyeh.
NRC recruited 22 teachers and 10 activity leaders who were all trained by NRC’s education team. These made sure the children good, quality knowledge in Arabic, English, and mathematics. All the children were offered transport to the learning centre, and given school material such as pencils and writing books. Parent groups were established in all project areas to inform and involve the parents about the children’s progress.
Will begin in fourth grade
Lilas (9) has benefitted greatly from being in the NRC programme. The girl is now in thir grade in a public school in Sheeba. When she first started school, it went well, but after a few weeks her mother received a message from the school principal that her daughter had a hard time keeping up with the rest of her class. She risked not being able to complete third grade. Lilas’ family was in a difficult situation economically, and her mother decided to register her in the NRC learning support programme.
Shortly after, Lilas is now doing well and progressing in all three subjects. She is happy to have completed third grade and looks forward to starting in fourth, which she has been confirmed she will do this autumn.
“The children are enthusiastic and obviously excited when they arrive at the NRC learning centre. They feel at home here, that they are accepted,” says Marta Schena.
The learning support classes are running three hours a day, two days a week for three months in all of the seven chosen areas. In March 2016, NRC conducted post tests of all children participating in the programme. Since the first post test conducted in February, 70 percent of the children had done progress in all subjects. This makes it possible for children affected by conflict and the refugee crisis to participate in the Lebanese school system on the same level as other children.