The Syrian conflict has caused one of the worst humanitarian disasters in modern times with an unprecedented loss of life and an increasingly long-term impact on the safety and stability of the region. Nowhere is the challenge of extending access to education graver than in Lebanon. One out of ten people in Lebanon is a child from Syria, and the majority of these children are not in school. These children are becoming trapped in child labor, early marriage and extremism at alarming rates, making their safety and the safety of Lebanon as their host country a top concern for their families, the Government of Lebanon and national and international organizations.

The Government of Lebanon is committed to providing refugee children with an education. Developed with UN agencies, international donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) is leading the Reaching All Children with Education (RACE) strategy, which aims to ensure that 470,000 vulnerable school-aged children — those afected by the Syria crisis as well as underprivileged Lebanese children — are able to access quality formal and non-formal educational (NFE) opportunities. RACE further seeks to improve the quality of learning for all children in Lebanon.

Efforts to address the educational needs of all Lebanese and Syrian children represent the best scenario for Lebanon and the region. But the refugee crisis has put Lebanon’s already limited public education system under strain. Public schools provide less than 30% of Lebanon’s education, a share that has been dropping over the past decade due to concerns over the quality of education. 

Consultations with the MEHE and its partners in Lebanon point to the importance they attach to the collective effort made to achieve the progress to date. Partners have identified seven opportunities to accelerate progress rapidly and in time for the upcoming 2015/16 school year. 

Opportunity 1: Bolster MEHE’s capacity to lead the education response by rallying behind the establishment of a dedicated Program Management Unit (PMU).

Opportunity 2: Rapidly scale up access to formal education with additional financial support. 

Opportunity 3: Establish a new budget for RACE with the aim of creating a more responsive donor base.

Opportunity 4: Remove the administrative and policy barriers preventing refugee children from accessing formal education in Lebanon. 

Opportunity 5: Strengthen pathways to and retention in formal education by scaling up accelerated learning programs (ALPs) and remedial learning programs (RLPs).

Opportunity 6: Increase access to education for young children (aged 3 to 6) and adolescents (aged 15 to 18). 

Opportunity 7: Make schools safe for all children. 

Read the Full Report: Reaching all Children with Education in Lebanon: Opportunities for Action