[Lebanon] Language Barriers Prevent Syrian Children from Attending School
“I want them to go to school, but it’s so far away. I can’t afford the cost of transport. It’s also difficult because here they speak French or English at school. My children won’t understand anything”, explained Dima’s sister.
A critical problem facing Syrian children in Lebanon is that the education system uses French or English as the language of instruction, with Arabic only reserved for language courses and sometimes history lessons. Conversely, in Syria the education system is entirely in Arabic.
A rapid needs assessment carried out in late 2012 by the UN children’s fund in Lebanon (UNICEF) and Save the Children also cited language barriers as the principal obstacle for Syrians in Lebanon. The report found that most Syrians would like their children to learn either French or English as they see it as a “chance for upward mobility”.
In addition, the Lebanese education system is unable to cope with the influx of Syrians across the border. More than 160,000 Syrians are officially registered with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Lebanon and a further 71,358 are awaiting registration. This number is increasing rapidly as up to 3,000 Syrians are crossing the borders daily to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.
In a sixth-grade class at a Lebanon elementary school, a student told a mischievous joke, garnering some laughs from his classmates. The teacher, angry, approached one of the giggling classmates, an 11-year-old girl named Jinan; she slapped her, leaving a red welt across the student’s cheek.
Jinan’s story is not unique. A teenage student named Jawad faced a similar brand of tough punishment when, after smiling and greeting people through a window that overlooks a corridor, his math teacher slapped him. It just so happened that Jawad’s mother was at the school that day. Enraged, she entered the classroom and argued with the teacher.
[LEBANON] The teacher unions demand that the national authorities amend the proposals and offer a wage increase equal to the rate of inflation, as well as rejecting unjustified proposals to introduce new taxes. This strike action demonstrated the unity of all primary and secondary school teachers in both the public and private sectors.