Beirut, April 30, 2018 – The Government of Lebanon is leading an innovative initiative to help the country restore its glory as a regional hub for education excellence in learning outcomes commensurate with international standards and labor market needs.
The World Bank-led Research for Results (R4R) program has concluded “Volume 1” of an analytical work that focused on the political economy of education in Lebanon. The study included an assessment of the performance of the system in terms of learning outcomes, equity and efficiency, while understanding the foundations and the dynamics of the system.
The R4R Program is a partnership between the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), the World Bank, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the US Agency for International Aid (USAID). Volume I is the first phase of the support to the Government of Lebanon’s quest to generate evidence-based policy recommendations for improving the education sector’s indicators.
The program is unique in its approach as it uses a system-level analysis combined with research of service delivery. It focused on uncovering how investments in the education sector can yield better student learning.
“The Research for Results Program brings a high value added for the development of the education system in Lebanon. It provides a solid foundation for the implementation of interventions anchored on research-based evidence. The program emphasizes the Government of Lebanon’s commitment to adopt a clear path for education reform and development” said Marwan Hamade, Minister of Education and Higher Education.
The main findings of the first volume showed that the government and Lebanese households are highly committed to education as reflected by the level of spending on the sector. Additionally, the Lebanese public had an overall positive public perception of the sector. Despite these observations, major issues continue to challenge the education sector resulting in low student learning outcomes, inequity and high inefficiency.
To overcome these challenges, the political analysis uncovered the need for a system approach for reform on different policy dimensions, including updating and ensuring coherence among key elements, drivers, principles and laws aligned towards common goals of establishing and institutionalizing practical and objective processes, creating feedback loops and fostering a culture of evidence to establish a quality assurance system that aims to ensure that services delivered meet certain standards, while ensuring fiscal and financial sustainability of the system.
“The World Bank has been a long-standing partner of the Government of Lebanon in its efforts to secure access to and quality of the education services to Lebanese students. R4R is a key component of the World Bank’s overall education portfolio, which includes a combination of concessional loans and grants to support learning for all students in Lebanon,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, Regional Director of the Middle East Department at the World Bank.
This event is only the first session of a series of forthcoming discussion panels, seminars and workshops to discuss the research proceedings and findings and their implications on policy while engaging with education stakeholders. The next volumes will explore in more depth teaching and learning in schools including private, public and philanthropic educational institutions. The analyses will specifically focus on education for vulnerable communities and refugee children, who constitute a large proportion of school—age minors and young adults in Lebanon.
Education is one of the largest sectors financed by the World Bank in Lebanon where the organization’s total portfolio exceeds $1.7 billion. The R4R program is one of four education projects in Lebanon with a total commitment of nearly US$280 million.
These operations underscore the World Bank commitment to helping the Lebanese Government maximize its investment in education, as one of the strongest instruments for human capital development that can contribute to reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace and stability.