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governmentSeptember 30, 2020

NGO warns of children dropping out of school in Beirut

One in four children of school age in Beirut risk dropping out of school since the massive explosion that hit the Lebanese capital last month, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warned on Monday.

“With 163 schools damaged by the Beirut explosion,” explained the IRC, “at least 1 in 4 children in the city are now at risk of missing out on their education. Over 85,000 pupils were registered at the schools damaged by the blast and it will take up to a year for the most severely damaged buildings to be repaired.”

Although the Ministry of Education is working hard to find spaces for children in new schools, the added disruption will cause serious concern. “Those from damaged schools will have long distances to travel in order to reach their new place of study, as well as additional transport costs, something that poorer families will be unable to afford.”

Moreover, the IRC pointed out that for children using public transport safety and harassment will be major concerns, especially for those travelling to attend a school’s evening shift.

“Children with disabilities — both pre-existing and those caused by the explosion — will face additional barriers as they navigate public transport to get to schools located far from their homes,” added the NGO.

Acting Country Director for the IRC in Lebanon, Mohammad Nasser, said: “Instead of being able to enjoy their summer holidays, children in Beirut had their lives torn apart by the explosions on 4 August. Many saw their homes destroyed and family members hospitalised.”