Dr. Maha Shuayb, Director of the Centre for Lebanese Studies and Lead Investigator of LERRN’s Lebanon Working Group, has published a very timely article in openDemocracy that raises critical questions relating to refugee education.

Refugee education has been a growing global priority in recent years. It was one of the core themes at the 2016 Leaders Summit where a geographically diverse group of 52 leaders and senior officials, including 32 heads of state or government, pledged to enhance refugees’ access to primary, secondary and tertiary education.

Refugee education was also one of the core themes of the 2019 Global Refugee Forum where 63 official co-sponsors, including 13 states, pledged about $350 million to improve refugees’ access to learning.

Additionally, since 2019, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, has been mandated to launch a global initiative on refugee education.

Dr. Maha Shuayb’s powerful piece in openDemocracy sheds light on the negative impacts of Lebanese containment policies on learning outcomes for Syrian refugee children. Based on extensive research Dr. Shuayb demonstrated how Global North countries and the Lebanese government developed an informal agreement where international donors would pay Lebanon politicians for the costs of the Syrian children’s education program, in order to keep Syrian refugees away from Global North borders.

Through these agreements, Lebanese politicians were able to embezzle millions of dollars’ worth of donor funding allocated to the education of Syrian refugee children, which resulted in the exclusion of 40% of Syrian children from educational opportunities.

Given the existing international focus on refugee education, Dr. Shuayb’s work makes a timely and substantive contribution to these policy discussions to ensure that refugees all over the world have access to quality education and other crucial opportunities.

Read the full piece here.