The campaign picks up where Education is an Equal Right for all, so is Distant Learning video that we launched in June 2020 left off. The last time we met Jad, Karim, and Dana, they were struggling with online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic confinement. The three siblings living in Beirut shared one mobile phone to study, but their internet bandwidth was insufficient to cover their needs. The lack of inclusive teaching and learning methods also deprived them of inclusive education.
We meet Jad, Karim, and Dana in this new video two years later in October 2021 (Academic year 2021-2022) as they prepare to go back to in-person learning, but their situation is no better than it was during the previous two years.
Lebanon is deep into an economic crisis that has negatively impacted the educational sector. A recent study by the Center for Lebanese Studies indicates a noticeable preference for face-to-face schooling, with (75%) of parents and (62%) of teachers preferring a return to face-to-face teaching. However, amid fuel shortages and mounting transportation costs, 97% of parents and 99% of teachers who use private transportation to commute to school report struggling to fill their cars with gas. Using public and shared transport is also a challenge as 91% of parents and 94% of teachers say they can no longer afford to use public transit.
Additionally, with only 2% of students and 60% of teachers reported receiving the vaccine, face-to-face learning risks increasing the number of Covid-19 cases among the general population. The deterioration in purchasing power leaves many parents (22%) unable to cover their children’s school expenses, including tuition, books, and stationery. While returning to face-to-face schooling is plagued with unresolved obstacles, online learning is also not an option because of inadequate infrastructure and increased inequalities putting disadvantaged students at risk of losing out on education for a third consecutive year.