Dubai: Around 5,000 refugee children in Lebanon, whose education is at risk, will get access to online learning under a new partnership between Dubai-based The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund (REF) and digital platform Discovery Education.
‘The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair COVID-19 Online Learning Emergency Fund for Refugee Education’ was launched by Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair in April to ensure vulnerable populations are able to continue their learning without interruption. The partnership with Discovery Education will help fill the educational gaps that have emerged because of the pandemic. This programme will reach 5,000 at-risk students in addition to over 17,500 students already being helped by REF in Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE.
As part of the partnership with REF, and for the first time ever, Discovery Education will collaborate with local organisations in Lebanon to provide access to digital learning resources aligned to the Lebanese curriculum for students in Grade 8 to 12. This partnership is a component of REF’s effort to help 5,000 refugees and marginalised youth communities transition to Grades 9 through 12 and give them a chance to succeed when sitting the critical Lebanese national examinations.
Discovery Education will also provide professional learning to 100 teachers to address the challenges of remote instruction, enabling them to access a set of new digital tools to help them deliver online lessons to students. Participating teachers will also become part of Discovery Educator Network, an online community of practice comprised of educators from all over the globe.
The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair COVID-19 Online Learning Emergency Fund for Refugee Education will also provide students access to devices and internet connections to ensure their Discovery Education experience is not obstructed by any technical difficulty or lack of equipment. Also, students in Lebanon continue to face multifaceted challenges with an unprecedented high risk of dropping out of school.
The increase in dropouts from secondary education among refugees is alarming, whereby less than two per cent of Syrian refugees complete their secondary education. This programme will help students catch up on the education they have missed — on and off since October 2019 — through interactive and creative online tools and pedagogics.
Crisis after crisis
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education and founder of REF said: “The economic crisis followed by the pandemic and the devastating blast in Beirut has forced Lebanon to adapt to a new challenging reality. We are proud of this partnership with Discovery Education as digital education is the new go to solution for education, this programme ensures refugees and vulnerable youth have effective access to high quality education that they would not have otherwise.”
Robin Headlee, managing director of Discovery Education International said: “Refugees and vulnerable youth in Lebanon have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year, which have posed several risks to their access to education. We strongly believe that no child or young person’s education should be halted due to external factors which are beyond their control. That’s why we are doing our part to ensure these young people have the opportunity to continue their education online, in order for them catch-up on their development and not be held back in the future. I am delighted that what started out as a kernel of an idea by two like-minded organisation has resulted in this practical, proactive and tangible project.”