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​​AUB-CCECS leads dialogue on equal access to education through innovative technology
3/20/2017
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 
​The AUB Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service (CCECS) brought together professionals and academics to highlight the urgency for equal and fair access of marginalized communities to education in Lebanon. Over 40 key stakeholders from local and international organizations, Lebanese ministries and institutions, and UN agencies participated in an in-depth discussion on using technology as a means for improving access to quality education for children from marginalized communities.

Representatives of the Profuturo Foundation presented their model which has been offering locally-deployed digital tools to make formal and informal education more accessible in Latin America and Africa. The discussion that followed focused on the compatibility of digital classrooms to the Lebanese context and means of adaptation, implementation, and incentives for participation in the model. 

“As a University, we are particularly able to positively impact society as a hub for innovation in humanitarian intervention and as a convener of experts … always striving to better serve marginalized populations,” said Dr. Hala Muhtasib, Associate Provost.  “A major goal of AUB’s Strategic Plan for 2030 is to re-establish the University’s unique position in fostering productive dialogues at the crossroads of civilization and contribute more effectively to an increasingly globalized and technologically enhanced and connected world. Accordingly, the focus of today’s discussion is especially salient for us.”

The participants addressed specific considerations in relation to formal education/public schools, non-formal education (NFE), and out-of-school children. The participants brainstormed practical and feasible ways to increase enrollment and retention, as well as improve the quality of teaching and the curricula, while analyzing expected impact on the ground of designed strategic initiatives. The debates emphasized the importance of local ownership and sustainability of the proposed digital education system.
The discussions were facilitated by Dr. Maha Shuayb, director of the Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS) and expert on the sociology and politics of education, particularly equity and equality in education, and the implications of the politicization of education, particularly on marginalized groups. 

Director General of the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Fadi Yarak, spoke about initiatives undertaken by the Ministry to ensure accessibility of the marginalized to education in Lebanon. An estimated 100,000 children are expected to join non-formal education in Lebanon in 2017. Dr. Yarak expressed support for partnership with local and international NGOs to facilitate, monitor, and support all education initiatives that target marginalized communities.

The CCECS harnesses the expertise of AUB faculty and staff, and the dynamism of AUB students, to work closely with concerned partners, local stakeholders, and targeted communities to design and pilot innovative projects that aim to serve and empower marginalized communities. It also offers a discussion platform where experts and stakeholders can study and analyze new ideas. The Center has been introducing technology and innovation in its Ghata project which offers low-cost portable classrooms to Syrian refugee children within tented settlements. Currently, eight Ghata schools and two vocational centers serve approximately 4,500 students, with another four Ghata schools and four Ghata community centers in development.

“AUB has been the perfect partner for us; they have all the knowledge and know-how and can take this initiative a long way,” said Mrs. Nora Jumblatt, Founding Director of Kayany Foundation, CCECS’s local implementing partner on the Ghata Project. “I really believe in AUB; in its faculty, students, and everybody here. I think this is a wonderful opportunity to reach the vulnerable refugee and Lebanese children. There are about 250,000 out-of-school children and it is high time that we made a difference and reached large numbers of children with education. That is our target.”​
Story Highlights
  • ​CCECS brought together professionals and academics to highlight the urgency for equal and fair access of marginalized communities to education in Lebanon.
  • Over 40 key stakeholders from local and international organizations, Lebanese ministries and institutions, and UN agencies participated in an in-depth discussion on using technology as a means for improving access to quality education for children from marginalized communities.
 
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Email: media@aub.edu.lb
 
 
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