Fund in partnership to help refugee children in Lebanon

A UAE fund for refugee schooling has announced a partnership with Discovery Education to help vulnerable young people, including refugee children, in Lebanon. (Supplied)
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Updated 29 September 2020

Fund in partnership to help refugee children in Lebanon

  • The initiative will reach 5,000 students in addition to more than 17,500 already being helped by the REF in Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE

LONDON: A UAE fund for refugee schooling has announced a partnership with Discovery Education to help vulnerable young people, including refugee children, in Lebanon.

The Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair Education Fund (REF) said in a statement that the first-of-its-kind program would deliver online teaching and increase access to education for thousands of refugees, filling gaps in their schooling that have emerged due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

The initiative will reach 5,000 students in addition to more than 17,500 already being helped by the REF in Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE.

The Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair COVID-19 Online Learning Emergency Fund for Refugee Education was launched by Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair in April 2020 to ensure vulnerable populations were able to continue their learning without interruption.

Discovery Education will collaborate with local organizations in Lebanon to provide access to digital learning resources aligned to the Lebanese curriculum for students in grades eight to twelve.

It will also provide training to 100 teachers to address the challenges of remote instruction, enabling them to access a diverse set of new digital tools to help them deliver online lessons to students effectively.

Participating teachers will also become part of the Discovery Educator Network, an online educational community.

“The economic crisis followed by the pandemic and the devastating blast in Beirut has forced Lebanon to adapt to a new challenging reality,” said Al-Ghurair. “We are proud of this partnership with Discovery Education, as digital is the new solution for education. This program ensures refugees and vulnerable youth have access to high quality education that they would not have otherwise,” he added.

Refugees report high numbers of school dropouts, with less than 2 percent of Syrian refugees completing secondary education. The program will help students catch up on the education they have missed — on and off since October 2019 — through interactive and creative online tools.

“Refugees and vulnerable youth in Lebanon have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year, which have posed several risks to their access to education. We strongly believe that no child or young person’s education should be halted due to external factors which are beyond their control,” Robin Headlee, managing director of Discovery Education International, said.

 

“That’s why we are doing our part to ensure these young people have the opportunity to continue their education online, in order for them catch-up on their development and not be held back in the future. I am delighted that what started out as a kernel of an idea by two like-minded organization has resulted in this practical, proactive and tangible project.”


Pan-Arab poll: Biden better for region, but must shun Obama policies

Updated 59 min 43 sec ago

Pan-Arab poll: Biden better for region, but must shun Obama policies

  • Majority of respondents to Arab News/YouGov survey consider neither candidate good for region
  • Findings show strong Arab support for Trump on Iran but not on Jerusalem embassy move

RIYADH: Nearly half the respondents in an Arab News/YouGov poll conducted in 18 Middle East and Africa (MENA) countries believe neither candidate in the upcoming US elections will necessarily be good for the region.
Of the rest, 40 percent said Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden would be better for the region while 12 percent said the same thing about incumbent President Donald Trump. But a key takeaway of the poll is that if Biden, who served as vice president to Barack Obama until 2017, wins the White House race, he would be well advised to shed the Obama administration baggage.
When asked about policies implemented in the Middle East under the Obama administration, the most popular response (53 percent) was that the Democratic president left the region worse off, with another 58 percent saying Biden should distance himself from Obama-era policies.
The study surveyed a sample of 3,097 respondents online to find out how people in the MENA region feel about the Nov. 3 US elections.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Containing Iran was found to be one of the top four issues that respondents wanted the next US president to focus on. Strong support for Trump both maintaining a war posture against Iran and imposing strict sanctions against the Tehran regime was noticed in Iraq (53 percent), Lebanon (38 percent) and Yemen (54 percent), three countries that have had intimate regional dealings with Iran.
President Trump’s 2017 decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem proved overwhelmingly unpopular, with 89 percent of Arabs opposing it. Surprisingly, in contrast to most other Arabs, Palestinian respondents inside the Palestinian Territories indicated a greater desire for the US to play a bigger role in mediation with Israel.
Arab opinion was largely split on the elimination this year of Iran’s regional “satrap” Gen. Qassem Soleimani, with the single largest proportion of respondents from Iraq (57 percent) and Lebanon (41 percent) seeing it as a positive move, as opposed to those in Syria and Qatar, where most respondents — respectively 57 percent and 62 percent — saw it as negative for the region.

Iran also figured in the list of perceived threats to US interests, although well behind white nationalism (32 percent) and China (22 percent). The other critical challenges for the US as viewed by Arabs were cybercrime, radical Islamic terrorism and climate change.
For a country that touts itself as an ally of the US, public attitudes in Qatar were found to be surprisingly out of sync with US objectives in the Middle East. The perception of radical Islamic terrorism, Iran and Islamist parties as the “three biggest threats facing the region” was much softer in Qatar compared with the region as a whole.
It came as little surprise that three quarters of respondents want the next US administration to make it easier for people from Arab countries to travel to the US. The figure for Lebanon, for instance, was even higher, 79 percent, underscoring concerns that many young Arabs are actively trying to leave the region.
Among other findings, Arabs remain overwhelmingly concerned about such challenges as failed government (66 percent) and the economic slowdown (43 percent).
Close to half of the respondents (44 percent) would like to see the next US president focus on empowering young people in the Arab region and solving the Arab-Israeli conflict (44 percent), followed by containing COVID-19 (37 percent), reining in Iran and Hezbollah (24 percent), quashing radical Islamic terrorism (24 percent) and tackling climate change (17 percent).