Improving Learning Conditions In An Akkar Public School
USAID is supporting education in Akkar by equipping schools in one of Lebanon’s most underserved communities.
In Qabaait, a rural village in the governorate of Akkar near Lebanon’s northern border with Syria, one public school serves the entire community. This includes about 7,000 Lebanese citizens and 843 registered Syrian refugees. Over the course of the past few years, the school experienced an increase in dropout rates due to its poor infrastructure, which has prompted parents to transfer their children to different schools in nearby villages in search of better educational conditions. In 2018, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education rented a new building for the Qabaait school and provided some new equipment. Still, it lacked the necessary resources to meet students’ needs.
To help the community respond to this challenge, USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) provided the Qabaait Public School with 200 sets of desks and chairs, 26 desktop computers, and 13 computer desks. In addition, CSP installed curtains in all the 60 classrooms ahead of the spring session to help shield the students from the sun. This project, worth $35,000, directly benefited the 383 students currently enrolled in the school.
Through this intervention, CSP responded to the urgent needs of a public school located in one of Lebanon’s most marginalized communities, which is known for its extreme poverty, high unemployment rate, and susceptibility to the ripple effects of the civil war in neighboring Syria. CSP’s support will benefit not only the school, its staff, and its students, but also the parents by inspiring more confidence in the quality of education.
According to Mohammad Kanaan, the school’s principal, “USAID’s support to the Qabaait Public School was very timely. This much-needed support will have a positive impact on the school, particularly on the students and parents, who will now have a better image of public school in their community.” Mr. Kanaan says the improvements at the school will help encourage more parents to register their sons and daughters for the upcoming years.
During a visit by CSP to the newly equipped school, students showed enthusiasm about the new equipment. Additionally, the head of the parents’ committee, Mr. Hussein Darwish, highlighted the importance of such projects. These interventions not only support the Qabaait school but also public education more broadly throughout Lebanon and in small communities like Akkar, where more and more parents are sending their children to public schools because of the high cost of private education.
This activity is part of USAID’s extended engagement in the Lebanese public school system to enhance student achievement by improving educational environments with repairs and equipment. CSP is an $80 million, seven-year activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It is designed to provide a broad range of support to underserved and vulnerable communities in order to improve the delivery of essential services and enhance economic opportunities, primarily in Lebanon’s North, South, and Beqaa regions.