When Education Falls to Necessity: Lebanese Education Amid Economic Downturn – Harvard International Review

by | Sep 9, 2022 | Education

The shut-down of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated inequalities and made it difficult for many students to access education worldwide. In Lebanon, this was especially compounded by severe economic downturn, rapidly rising fuel prices, and infrastructure issues, like the Beirut explosion of August 2020. Now, the gap between those able and unable to go to school is only widening, and more students are leaving schools to join the workforce or the marriage market out of necessity.During the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools moved to a virtual classroom, even while families lacked the resources to adapt to this learning environment. Combined with the rising prices of fuel and the depreciation of the Lebanese Lira, families have had to prioritize other costs before education. The proportion of students enrolled in school in Lebanon dropped from 60 percent to 43 percent this year. In the 2021-2022 academic year, there were about 30,000 children in Lebanon that dropped out of school; a report by UNICEF found that one in ten children in Lebanon have been sent to work instead. Child marriage is another leading reason for dropping out, one fifth of Syrian girls in Lebanon between the ages of 15 and 19, and four percent of Lebanese girls in the same age bracket, are married (actual figures might be larger than official reports show). Most of the jobs taken on by previous students in Lebanon are low-paying, irregular, and informal—but, for many families, this employment is necessary to keep their families afloat during the economic crisis. One out of every ten children are employed instead of enrolled in school, and most of this labor is underpaid and informal.Even when children do attend school, they are sometimes left sitting in classrooms without teac …

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