Mat Wright

The British Council and associate partner Institut Français du Liban have been selected to manage and deliver the EU-funded Accessing Education: Language Integration for Syrian Refugee Children project in Lebanon. The project aims to help Syrian refugee school-age children integrate into education systems in host communities in Lebanon, with a particular emphasis on providing students with the language skills they require to access education.

The single-most pressing problem facing Syrian refugee children in Lebanon is the language of instruction in schools, where most subjects are taught in either French or English. Added to this are numerous challenges such as the lack of space within schools, school staff attitudes and psycho-social problems resulting from the trauma of conflict. This causes low motivation to enter schools, low performance, discrimination and a high drop-out rate.

The project will focus on areas in Lebanon with the highest concentration of Syrian refugees. Working closely with the Lebanon Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Centre for Educational Research and Development, we have designed and piloted teacher training programmes in English and French, procured resource to support the teacher training programmes and trained a pool of 25 national trainers to deliver the teaching training.

The project is now set to deliver a training programme that innovatively blends psychosocial approaches with language support to 1,500 ministry teachers. The training will be delivered in three phases, each targeting 500 teachers.    

The trained teachers will subsequently deliver programmes to 90,000 Syrian refugee children during the life span of the project. Many of these children are enrolled in Lebanese formal school systems thanks to the Lebanese ministry of education, but because of the scale of the crisis, ministry teachers are also being deployed in non-formal education sectors co-ordinated by UNHCR and UNICEF. Our project team works in close coordination with these organisations.