British Council

'A fantastic start made me realise how wonderful the programme is, and it was really above my expectations.' - PADILEIA Student

Life cycle



Jordan and Lebanon


Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)


To increase access to higher education for refugee and disadvantaged host communities in Jordan and Lebanon through new online and blended learning programmes.


It is estimated that there are around 76,000 refugees aged between 18 and 25 in Lebanon and Jordan who aspire to gain access to higher education. These future students face significant barriers to higher education access, leading to a lack of transferable skills and future education pathways. Through our longstanding presence in refugee-hosting countries we are trusted by key parties and able to deliver a multi-country, collaborative approach to sensitive work. We are able to apply our extensive delivery expertise in higher education to bring learning opportunities to refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. 


Managed by the British Council, PADILEIA is delivered with King’s College London working with the American University of Beirut, Al al-Bayt University, Kiron Open Higher Education, and FutureLearn as part of the SPHEIR programme. Online and blended learning programmes have been developed to increase access to higher education for refugee and disadvantaged host communities in Jordan and Lebanon. These include short online courses via the FutureLearn platform, online university-level courses and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) via the Kiron online learning platform, and university foundation programmes using blended learning and delivered via the partner universities. 


To date, the partnership has developed bespoke foundation courses and online courses based on a needs assessment of target students, and has built two dedicated study hubs in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon and equipped two more near the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The needs assessment of target students found that the English language levels among the Syrian refugee populations were lower than expected and therefore additional Arabic translation was required to support learners. 

PADILEIA has now provided more than 1,000 students in Jordan and Lebanon with higher education access services and supported 31 of its foundation course graduates to gain university scholarships or employment. The project is aiming to reach over 6000 students by 2021. 

Mutual benefit

PADILEIA is one of the first projects to be supported by SPHEIR, an initiative funded by DFID and managed by the British Council, Universities UK and PwC. Through the development and delivery of these online learning programmes, PADILEIA is increasing access to high-quality education by providing further higher education learning; thereby promoting the reputation of UK higher education. 

The programme provides opportunities for the programme partners, such as King’s College London and Al al-Bayt University to form connections and learn from each other, increasing mutual benefits and strengthening relationships between the UK, Lebanon and Jordan.