Education Rapid Needs Assessment (September 2021)

Originally published


Executive Summary

Lebanon is facing an unprecedented economic crisis compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Beirut Port Blast. This quantitative country-wide study analyses data collected from 26 schools and 372 households of children enrolled in AVSI educational activities, both inside and outside the classroom, to show the impact of the crisis on school-aged Lebanese and refugee children. It explores issues of child protection, transportation to school, online learning, power provision, food security and preparedness for next scholastic year. The study findings present an alarming situation regarding children's wellbeing and their access to education. The quality of learning offered in schools has declined significantly, with the number of learning weeks and access to in-presence and distance learning directly affected. One in three children struggles to reach school and has already skipped learning because of it, while teaching personnel also struggle with transportation. Extended power cuts have made remote learning nearly impossible, with households in Akkar reporting less than three hours of electricity a day on average. COVID-19 lockdown measures adversely affected children wellbeing, sparking an increase in stress, anger, and difficulties in socializing. Child labor rates reached a dramatic peak in 2021 with one in three households in Akkar having a working child. Across Lebanon, an average of 15 percent of surveyed households reported having a working child. Food-related negative coping mechanisms were documented in three in four households as a consequence of decreased purchasing power. Against this worrisome framework, schools are not equipped for the upcoming scholastic year. A large number of students from private and semi-private schools have flooded public schools in a trend that is expected to increase, further straining an overstretched public school system. School dropouts increased in 2021 and challenges with sustaining school-related costs will likely exacerbate this problem in the next school year. Considering this rapidly changing context, flexible and innovative approaches are key to support access to quality and inclusive education in Lebanon.