WASHINGTON-September 27, 2016 – A $224 million Program will provide access to and enhance the quality of the Lebanese public education system. One hundred thousand additional Lebanese children and Syrian refugees between ages 3-18 will be enrolled over the lifetime of the Program. The World Bank Group’s board of directors approved today the “Support to Reaching All Children with Education (RACE 2)” which includes a $100 million funding by the International Development Association (IDA), at rates normally reserved for low-income countries.
As part of the Program, the Bank is providing a US$4 million grant from the Results in Education for all Children Trust Fund, financed by Norway, Germany, and the United States.This combination of efforts is expected to attract additional support from the international community, including $120 million in grant financing. The credit and associated grant financing uses an innovative results-based-approach focused on increased enrollment and education system quality and will disburse directly against achieved results.
“Our objective is to make sure that these (out-of-school) kids, who have done nothing to find themselves in this abysmal situation, will not turn into a lost generation,” said Ferid Belhaj, Director of the Middle East Department at the World Bank. “Indeed, the high level of concessionality that is offered here is unprecedented for a middle income country. The refugee crisis is hammering Lebanon in an unprecedented way. It is putting tremendous pressure on the country’s infrastructure—electricity, water, sanitation, public services, health and education,” Belhaj added. “Lebanon has offered the world a global public good. It has, in a sense, pre-paid its dues to all of us. It is time for the international community to rise up to its responsibilities and to help Lebanon mitigate the heavy impact of the Syria crisis.”
Lebanon has the highest number of refugees-per-capita in the world. Lebanon’s public education system has opened its doors to more than 150,000 Syrian children since the start of the Syrian war some five years ago. Many schools now hold double-shifts of classes in the morning and afternoon to meet the demand. Still, an estimated 300,000 Syrian children living in Lebanon are not enrolled in formal schooling. Despite tremendous efforts by the Lebanese government and the support of the international community to provide education services, the short- and long-term consequences of failing to educate these children are potentially catastrophic.
“This program will support the Government of Lebanon’s key objectives of increasing enrollment and improving the quality of education for all children. In addition, it provides a results-based instrument to channel increased international support,” said Noah Yarrow, World Bank Senior Education Specialist.
The objectives of the Government of Lebanon’s RACE 2 project are: (i) Increasing equitable access by Lebanese and Syrian children to formal education; (ii) enhancing quality of education services through targeted support and tailored training for teachers; and (iii) strengthening the recipients’ education systems at both the central and regional levels.