In Lebanon, the IECD is rallying to help schools in difficulty

Families are severely impacted by unemployment and the rise in prices and it is their children’s schooling that is directly under threat.

Lebanon – June 2020. The political and financial crisis in Lebanon has degenerated into a dramatic economic and social situation. The shortage of basic goods, the destruction of jobs and inflation, worsened recently by the effects of the pandemic, have driven Lebanese families into severe poverty.

Private schools have been particularly hard hit. They alone cater for two-thirds of students in Lebanon. Today, they are on the verge of bankruptcy due to a lack of school fees – a direct consequence of increasing poverty among Lebanese families. The closure of private schools would result in a large number of students switching to public schools, however these would be unable to cope with such large numbers. As a result, Lebanon is at risk of seeing school drop-outs on a massive scale.

The IECD has decided to support more than 1,000 young people by providing assistance to four schools in difficulty in order to allow them to return to school in September even if they are unable to finance their school fees. The IECD is thanking all its partners who are on its side, including IF International Foundation.

The Director of the Cortbawi Institute highlights the commitment of private schools at the service of all: “we don’t have the right to refuse someone who wants to learn, even if he or she cannot pay, it’s our social duty.”

A pillar of excellence for education in Lebanon, private education plays a key role in the measures set up by the IECD. Via these schools, the IECD designs and rolls out its main innovations, for example the launch of new training sectors.

The Cortbawi Institute, the Foyer de la Providence, the French Lebanese Technical Institute (ITFL) and the Mesrobian Institute are four schools in a critical financial situation with which the IECD has formed strong partnerships. Therefore, the IECD’s work alongside them continues in times of crisis beyond the long-term support it offers them (teacher training, equipment, renovation of training courses and career guidance measures, etc.).

For Arlette Jreissati, President of the ITFL, this support is a matter of survival: “the IECD’s aid comes just at the right time to help us pay our bills. Without this aid, we would not be able to continue our mission”.

Playtime at the Mozaik school, that welcomes children with special needs within the Foyer de la Providence.

In the same spirit, the IECD has joined the Œuvre d’Orient and the Raoul Follereau Foundation in launching the “Comité de Sauvegarde des Ecoles du Liban” (comitecsel@oeuvre-orient.fr). This initiative aims to mobilize and gather together people and associations in France wishing to support private education in Lebanon in order to ensure a welcome for children and teenagers at the start of the school year in September 2020.