Education for children in the Middle East
Education creates future prospects
In Syria alone, more than 2.5 million children are currently unable to attend regular school. In Lebanon, more than 700,000 children did not attend school in 2022, and one-third of all Syrian children in Lebanon have never attended school at all. Yet access to education is essential for children: their individual development and future opportunities depend on it. Therefore, it is crucial that children are able to exercise their internationally enshrined right to education, even in the context of crises and disasters, in order to ensure that they do not grow up to become a so-called "lost generation", as UNICEF also warns.
The most important facts about education in the Middle East:
- 1/3 of Syrian children in the Middle East cannot attend school
- 1/3 of Syrian children in Lebanon have never attended school at all
- 2.5 million children in Syria alone do not attend school (the number of unreported cases is probably much higher) - 1.6 million children are also at risk of being withdrawn from school.
- Around 35% of the school infrastructure in Syria has been destroyed since 2011.
- Only around 44% of children with disabilities can attend school in Lebanon
- More than 60% of children with disabilities in Syria have never attended school
- 1/8 of all children urgently need psychosocial support to recover from trauma
For more information on access to education in Syria, see the UN OCHA's Humanitarian Needs overview 2023.
Education gives hope and creates prospects
That is why our education programmes in the Middle East currently provide access to high-quality and inclusive education for more than 4,000 children and their families in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.
In addition to traditional education, the Caritas education projects also include psychosocial support and accompanying measures that help traumatized children process what they have experienced and thus enable them to follow the lessons and absorb the content. In addition, the children in the education projects also receive healthy and warm meals - often the only one a day. Especially since the historic economic crisis in Syria and Lebanon, more and more parents have problems feeding their children sufficiently and healthily.
I want to be in a place where I can live out my talents.
The focus of all Caritas educational work is based on four cornerstones
More than 4,000 children aged 3-18 years currently have access to formal and non-formal education measures in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. In close cooperation with our local partners and in coordination with the respective ministries of education, Caritas education projects ensure that children have a perspective for their future. From kindergarten and early childhood education to regular schooling, catch-up and remedial classes to catch up on missed learning.
In addition, children are supported by paying for transport costs, school materials, healthy school snacks and hot meals. Partner schools also benefit from improvements in school infrastructure that benefit all students.
A major focus of Caritas' educational work in the Middle East is the further training of teaching staff in order to prepare and train them for the increased needs of pupils who have been traumatized by flight and displacement. Especially when working with traumatized children, it is important to respond sensitively to the different psychological and physical needs so that the children can follow the lessons. The aim is to establish innovative, child-centered pedagogy in the public education sector and to train teachers to apply best practices that engage students and improve their problem-solving and active learning skills.
Children with impairments are also given access to inclusive educational activities through the education projects in order to learn and develop. To achieve this, schools in all project countries are renovated and expanded to make them inclusive and barrier-free. This is because schools must be safe and accessible to all - regardless of gender, impairment or academic level. Furthermore, schools are spaces where socio-political divisions and inequalities can be reduced. Thus, they have the potential to have a lasting positive impact on social stability and the community.
As part of our educational work, we also maintain and serve sanitary areas and conduct hygiene awareness training to ensure appropriate use. Medical check-ups are also conducted. An aspect that proved invaluable, especially at the beginning of the Corona crisis.
Workshops on education are offered to parents and guardians of children and students to promote the involvement of parents in their children's education and also to make them aware of the importance of this education. To this end, meetings are held between teachers and parents to keep them informed of progress and developments and to make teachers aware of any problems or difficulties the children may have at home. In addition, parents and teachers also receive support in dealing with psychological stress and possible trauma.
cannot go to school in Syria and Lebanon
with disabilities have never been to school
participate in Caritas education programmes
Caritas education projects in the Middle East
A strong network for education in times of crisis
Children are the group of people most affected in humanitarian crises. This is often associated with the loss of internationally established rights - such as the right to education (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989). Access to education, even under adverse conditions, is one of the most important measures to give people a perspective again and to counteract the effects of war and displacement in the long term. Since this requires intensive efforts by many committed partners, Caritas is a member of UNICEF's "No Lost Generation" initiative. Under the umbrella of "No Lost Generation", we work with international partner organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable children and young people have access to education, protection and development opportunities.
In order to represent these demands for respecting international children's rights and creating access to education with a strong voice also within the Caritas network, Caritas Austria and Caritas Switzerland have launched the strategic network PEER (Partnership on Education in Emergencies in the Middle East). Since 2018, the PEER network has been promoting the exchange of experiences within the organisations and allows synergies to be used in the field of education in emergencies.
This is how your donation helps:
- 15 Euros provide a family with internet connection at home so that children can participate in distance learning opportunities.
- 25 Euros provide a child with all the necessary books and stationery for a whole school year.
- 52 Euros provide a child with a comprehensive therapy session (psychotherapy, psychomotor or speech therapy).
- 230 Euros help the 20 most vulnerable families whose children are in the Caritas education programme to cover their basic needs and pay rent.
Support our educational programmes in the Middle East
Purpose of donation: Education Middle East
IBAN: AT23 2011 1000 0123 4560
Protecting children and young people from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect is a top priority in our work. Through Child Safeguarding, we ensure that children are protected and safe within our own organisation.
Further information on the Caritas Child Protection Policy.