BEIRUT: In an effort to improve the physical learning environment in public schools throughout Lebanon, especially for the most vulnerable communities, the Italian Embassy in Beirut signed a €2 million funding agreement in support of UNICEF’s school rehabilitation program as part of RACE II initiative by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
The intervention supports the most-in-need Lebanese public schools and employs MEHE’s standards for public school rehabilitation and safety which benefits children enrolled in all grades from KG to Grade 12.
A significant component of the school rehabilitation will ensure the presence of water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in schools, as well as meeting the accessibility standards that will facilitate the inclusion of children with disabilities.
“When schools are rehabilitated with enhanced construction and safety standards, children benefit from equitable access to quality, relevant and inclusive learning and early development,” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. “Rehabilitated facilities are improving the health and safety of children, thus improving attendance rates”.
Ambassador Bombardiere stressed the importance of investing in education for the future of Lebanon’s young generations. “Improving the quality of public schools environment and infrastructure grants access to quality education to a greater number of children living in Lebanon and helps them develop their human qualities in the context of the current economic and social crisis.
Bombardiere also highlighted that Italy remains committed to continue this path and placing vulnerable people at the center of the Italian Aid Policy while assisting the Lebanese Government in achieving its educational goals.
“Supporting the Lebanese public schools will be particularly relevant in the coming school year to ensure attendance in a time of economic hardship for families”, said Donatella Procesi, Director of the Beirut office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.
“The programs funded by the Italian Cooperation in the education sector also include the distribution of school meals and learning materials, as well as the implementation of non-formal education activities”.
In line with UNICEF’s equity-based approach to supporting children, the schools will be selected according to multiple criteria including vulnerable locality of the school, the number of enrolled Syrian refugee students, technical survey results, MEHE’s priorities and equitable representation among all Lebanese governorates.
Since 2015, Italy has supported the rehabilitation of 38 Lebanese public schools through UNICEF.
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