Impact of COVID-19 on Education

General Sector Update

Impact of COVID-19 on Education

26 March 2020

Populations Affected by closure

  • Closing of schools began on March 2nd, 2020 after an agreement between the Minister of Public Health and the Minister of Education and Higher Education.
  • Education Sector recommended that all NFE centers close in line with MEHE decision. Prior to MEHE decision, several sector partners had already closed down all their activities due to perceived risks in their areas of operation.
  • Number of schools closed during the first two weeks of March because of COVI-19 is around 2,877:
    • 1,235 are public schools
    • 1577 are private and semi-private (CERD 2018/2019 figures)
    • 65 UNRWA schools
    • 157 public TVET institutes
  • Estimated number of school aged children affected by this temporary interruption of education is over 1.2 million in both shifts in public schools as well as in private, semi-private and UNRWA schools:
    • Public – 495,000 (289,698 Lebanese; 195,500 Syrian; 6,308 Palestinian; 3,845 other) – (2019-2020 enrolment figure)
    • Private – 564,446 (2018/19 enrollment figure)
    • Semi-private – 140,357 (2018/19 enrollment figure)
    • UNRWA – 36,221 (2018/19 enrollment figure)
    • Total estimated: 1,236,024 (without TVET)
    • Public TVET – 93,974 (2019/20 enrolment figure)
  • Estimated number of teachers not going to all schools listed above based on estimates from CERD 2018-2019 figures:
    • Full time 56,332 (Public 19,083)
    • Contractual 39,568 (Public 18,214)
    • Other 6,604
    • Total: 102,504
  • Estimated number of children affected by the temporary interruption of education in NFE [CBECE, BLN, ALP, YBLN] activities:
    • In ongoing NFE programs estimated at 5,440
    • In ongoing ALP estimated at 10,000
    • 12,450 children were supposed to start their programs March 1st
    • Total: 27,890 NFE learners

Preparedness & Measures to mitigate the impact of closure

  • Measures already taken by MEHE:
    • Developed and circulated protocols for cleaning and disinfecting schools
    • Issued circulars to regulate the work of schools during the closing period and to use all available means to prepare the necessary educational materials and put them within the reach of students and their families. The circulars call on schools to continue preparing emergency programs to help finish the curricula and to compensate for missed lessons, as well as to organize working hours of school staff and teachers to be able to deliver the work efficiently and to set three pathways for distant learning.
    • Developed awareness materials and publications for children in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health, UNICEF and the World Health Organization, to be displayed in public and private schools, universities and institutes, as well in all centers carrying out educational activities, on social media and through the media.
    • MEHE launched distant learning initiative for all public and private schools with general guidance on three pathways:
      • Media (mainly Television – use of national TV for classes and awareness, with other media outlets used for awareness and PSS support for parents and children) – problems with electricity in many vulnerable areas in Lebanon pose a challenge.
      • Online platforms – One official application launched with Microsoft while some private schools are using their own platforms – Government issued waiver process for all academic websites certified by MEHE for the current response, where users are not pay for consumed data for uploads and downloads. – All remains a problem with many people in Lebanon not having a reliable network or not having access to proper technology to facilitate e-learning
      • Non-ICT methods (including paper-based) – becomes more difficult with current semi-lockdown status and limitations on movement
    • Pilot classes on TV launched Sunday March 22nd with request for feedback from students, teachers and education professionals – main focus is on Grades 9 and 12 (with Official Exams at end of year)
    • MEHE put in place 3 steps that all teachers will have to follow in order for them to be reported as working: Lesson preparations and dissemination, follow up with students on homework, grading and reporting back.
    • MEHE is coordinating the training of all education related institutes in the country on the awareness and prevention materials:
      • Training of 2,400 of health workers and school directors on developed materials on raising awareness and on prevention methods
      • UNICEF trained education personnel public TVET institutions
      • Trainings for all private schools around the country by LRC.
      • All Universities, private and public, are being trained.
    • Providing public schools (both shifts) and TVET institutes with a two-week supply of soap bars and bleaching materials, procured and distributed by UNICEF.
  • Measures to be taken by MEHE:
    • Government developing SOPs for the online App for e-learning. – discussions between MEHE and school faculty and staff ongoing on the requirements while waiting for SOPs to be finalized – with absence of SOPs many teachers and students finding difficulty using Microsoft Teams and many complaints registered. MEHE provided feedback form for teachers, education professionals and others to provide their input on the pathways.
    • MEHE announced it is putting in place a full response plan for COVID-19 based on distant learning, which would include an academic part as well as awareness and wellbeing of children and parents – still waiting to see the actual plan
    • MEHE planning to continue paying the second shift teachers for their time to ensure that distant learning reaches refugee students.
    • Continuing to provide basic hygiene materials for schools and putting the necessary preventive measures at their disposal in order to raise the level of readiness, especially to respond to the requirements of disinfection processes whenever deemed necessary