Active Learning for Children in Lebanon

Providing educational support in key subjects for children falling behind at school

Due to chronic under-funding and over-crowding, many UNRWA schools in the refugee camps in Lebanon, work on a double shift system, with a full class for some children crammed into a morning session and a second shift for other children in an afternoon session. Nahr el-Bared refugee camp was destroyed by conflict in 2007 and families returned in the years that followed as buildings were repaired and others were completely rebuilt. Many children are still living under extremely adverse conditions, dependent on relief aid and temporary shelters. Unemployment is 40% among refugees who returned to the camp.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have lower academic achievement levels than Lebanese students and the lowest success rate of all UNRWA areas of operation as measured by official exams, drop out rates and failure rates.

Through this project in Nahr el Bared Camp, WA supported NGOs providing after-school classes to supplement the UNRWA school classes, and raise the children's failing grades in Arabic, English and Mathematics. We worked with local NGOs to upgrade skills and train their teaching staff in the latest active learning methods, so that they could actively engage children in their own learning. They planned interesting and fun lessons using arts and crafts materials, PCs and educational software, drama activities, group work exercises and exercises that stimulated and encouraged the children to think and exchange ideas with their teachers and with each other.

This project gave the children the opportunity to develop their language and reading skills in a relaxed environment, instead of a packed classroom with no time to think or read aloud. With small motivational gifts recognising achievements and enthusiasm for learning, this programme made a difference to the children’s understanding of key subjects; linguistic skills are essential for progression in all subjects. All children showed improved grades in their end of year UNRWA school exams, as well as their increased interest in the subjects and attending school!