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UNRWA handled the regulation of the education process for Palestine refugees, considering that this is one of its main responsibilities identified by the international resolution upon the agency’s establishment. However, given that UNRWA is unable to meet all the needs of Palestine refugees in this regard, Palestinian households are starting to opt for other available choices, such as Lebanese public schools, private schools and private free schools, alongside all the burdens that come along with each of these choices.

Some of these burdens are affordable, in a limited manner, by some families while others force Palestinian households to head towards religious and civil institutions, or towards institutions belonging to political parties, in order to cover the educational requirements. In parallel with the educational role carried out by UNRWA, there is no presence of any role played by a Palestinian official authority that regulates and participates in the education process, from pre-school to higher education. UNRWA schools use the curricula adopted by governments of the hosting countries, according to the standards of the UNESCO.

Therefore, UNRWA schools in Lebanon are implementing the Lebanese official curricula, and its pupils are sitting for the official exams just like all other Lebanese pupils.

There isn’t any law that determines the rights of the Palestinian students in terms of education in Lebanon. The issue is restricted to circulars yearly issued by the Minister of Education and Higher Education during the seasonal academic enrollment at the beginning of the school year. According to the circular issued by the Minister of Education and Higher Education on September 18, 2014 no. 25/M/2014 to all principals of public schools (Cycles 1, 2 and 3), the latter principals are requested to restrict the admission of non-Lebanese students to basic education only (cycles 1, 2 and 3) according to the following order:

  • Non-Lebanese students (old and new) born of a Lebanese mother.
  • Students holding no identification papers and having Lebanese origins: After obtaining the approval of the General Directorate of Education regarding their situation upon referrals by the concerned schools in accordance with the administrational hierarchy.
  • Non-Lebanese students (old and new) whose relatives hold residency permits issued by the General Security and valid on the date of the enrolment application.
  • Palestinian students who have been residing in Lebanon for over three years. Old and new students to whom there isn’t any available UNRWA school within their residency areas.
In addition to regulating the education of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA engaged in vocational education and training since 1961, through establishing the Siblin Training Center relating to the vocational training and rehabilitation in the area of Chouf / Mount Lebanon. It then expanded these activities through the establishment of a second vocational center in North Lebanon, with both centers taking in approximately 1200 students.

The Palestinian students in higher education are distributed on the institutions of higher education in both public and private sectors. While the Lebanese University tuitions are considered a solution to ensure equality of the Palestinian pupils with the Lebanese students in the Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate degrees, private higher education is available only based on a number of conditions, most importantly the financial capacities required to cover the annual tuition fees. The Lebanese University represented a destination to a large number of Palestinian students, whereby no legal or administrational obstacles hindered them from benefitting from its educational services within its different faculties and institutes. In the Lebanese University, Palestinian students and Lebanese students are equally treated in terms of fees. Palestinians are entitled to enroll in its different faculties and institutes according to specific rules regulating the institutes. However, it is relevant to notice that the biggest rate of Palestinian students are attending the faculties that do not impose entrance exams. Furthermore, the capacity to practice the profession that the graduates will be undertaking during their studies plays an important role in choosing their major. In view of the decline of scholarships granted to undergraduate Palestinian students, the educational support funds for Palestinian students are making unremitting efforts to secure college education loans to as many Palestinian students in Lebanon as possible. The most prominent and active educational support funds to Palestinians in Lebanon are presented as follows:

  1. “Palestinian Students Fund”
  2. “President Mahmoud Abbas Fund”
  3. International and Arab Donors
Number Of Palestinian Students By Schools
Public schools Public schools Private schools Private free schools UNRWA schools total
2009-2010 1111 2222 3333 4444 5555 6666
2009-2010 1111 2222 3333 4444 5555 6666
2009-2010 1111 2222 3333 4444 5555 6666
2009-2010 1111 2222 3333 4444 5555 6666
2009-2010 1111 2222 3333 4444 5555 6666

Source: Lebanese Republic, Center for Educational Research and Development (CERD), statistical leaflets

The general health situation of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is facing various problems mainly revolving around the following:

  • Situations relating to primary health care, especially the health conditions of children and mothers;
  • The health protection systems represented by the health insurance;
  • The additional health care costs, despite the services offered by UNRWA, the Red Crescent and other health care institutions;
  • The quality of nutrition and the chronic nutrition practices;
  • The service providers, who are facing pressure in terms of budget, which negatively affects the quality and quantity of the services offered to the refugees;
  • Healthy environment, whether in terms of housing conditions or the general services, especially the health facilities such as water, water services and sanitation.

In order to face the health challenges that are burdening the lives of refugees, it is crucial to determine a starting point to confront these problems, so as to alleviate their negative impacts on different levels. In this regard, it is relevant to discuss the issue of the general environment in camps, in all its aspects and prevailing living conditions, as a central issue that should be of interest to the various initiatives required to face the health challenges pressuring the lives of refugees.

The nutrition issues intersect at this point with the provision of material living conditions, such as water, shelter, basic services, infrastructure and sanitation, as well as improving the health services, developing the centers, enhancing the quality and efficiency of such services and developing the insurance system, which altogether constitute the interlaced and required interventions in the aspired health and social policies

Palestinian Students’ Guide in the Lebanese Educational Institutions Since school can de dubbed as the chief social institution vested in instructing and tutoring future generations, empowering them with the means to help themselves and their communities, light had to be shed on the Lebanese government’s contribution, via the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, in streamlining and improving the educational process. The aim is to provide education to Palestinian students and prepare them for practical life, to be able to work on the improvement of the Palestinian community in Lebanon.

The community in general, and the Palestinian community in particular, are the main beneficiaries of the educational system’s success. Seeking to promote an insightful generation well-aware of its educational, social or national responsibilities in serving the Palestinian cause and fulfilling the Right to Return, the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) considered the STUDENT as the main element in planning its educational action.

Therefore, it was crucial to answer all the questions raised by Palestinian students (and families) to overcome any impediment that could hinder their education in Lebanese educational institutions, as well as explain all the administrative requirements, so as to clarify the role of the Lebanese Ministry of Education in fostering their educational proficiency based on clear-cut and precise information, through the “Palestinian Students’ Guide in the Lebanese Educational Institutions” published by LPDC and provided to Palestinian students and their families in March 2012.


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