HIGHER EDUCATION IN TIMES OF COLLAPSE
In the throes of a deeply rooted political and socio-economic crisis exacerbated since 2019, Lebanon has been struggling in the last two years with the repercussions of a manifold of strains including the COVID-19 pandemic, the August 2020 Beirut blast and the ever-evolving economic meltdown.These overlapping crises emerge on the background of a turbulent history, a complex geopolitical context and the toll of the Syrian crisis, now in its eleventh year. Lebanon is with approximately one million registered individuals considered the country in the world with the highest per capita ratio of refugees from Syria.
The local unstable economy, political situation and growing social tensions have turned Lebanon in a confusing terrain quite difficult to navigate in when it comes to providing Lebanese youth and refugees from Syria with the necessary support to better access quality further and higher education opportunities. Amidst the various restrictions, electricity blackouts, limited access to internet and rationed fuel and the surge in tuition fees, only a small percentage of the youth, from the host community and refugees from Syria as well, has the financial and technical means or the institutional access to continue higher education.
Despite the enormous efforts made, the impact of the economic distress caused by Lebanon’s financial crisis has had a major fall-out on Lebanon’s higher and further education institutions who are striving hard to preserve the continuity and quality of higher education which has for long periods of time been one of the great assets of Lebanon. While it is impossible to anticipate long-term solutions given the rapid escalation of the situation in Lebanon, all protagonists agree that maintaining the availability and quality of education and higher education must be considered of paramount priority to prevent the emergence of a lost generation of students, an issue that will have lasting implications for their personal future and that of their countries as well.
Within this perspective, the HOPES-LEB project funded by the European Union in partnership with the National Erasmus+ Office of Lebanon organised a series of stakeholder meetings addressing “Higher Education in times of collapse”.
ABOUT THE STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUES
The “Higher education in times of collapse” series of stakeholder dialogues were launched in January 2022 on a national level, bringing together professionals and academics, representatives of institutions and organisations as well as students, to further discuss the current situation in the higher education sector in Lebanon and its impact on students and education providers.
The series of dialogues and meetings focused on three following aspects:
- The perspective of higher and further education institutions
- The perspective of project implementers and organisations
- The perspective of students
For details about the dialogues and meetings, please check the links below
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PROVISION OF IMMEDIATE SUPPORT FOR THE LEBANESE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM
The Higher Education in times of collapse stakeholder dialogues and follow-up meetings allowed to identify challenges, mitigation measures and contributed to the development of a final paper and a set of recommendations addressed to relevant national and international stakeholders to define priorities for action and better guide future interventions.
The central aim of this final paper is to provide recommendations for the immediate response to the complex, multi-layered crises affecting the further and higher educational sector in Lebanon. The enclosed list of recommendations outlines the emergency help required to address problems of imminent importance for further and higher education institutions and the overall system in Lebanon, based on the outcomes of the stakeholder dialogues. While this paper addresses short-term emergency plans, the list of recommendations is nevertheless aligned with and complementary to existing strategic and national initiatives of a more far-ranging character.
It should be noted that, as these recommendations address short-term, emergency support measures, they cannot in any way substitute plans for structural change and development within the overall higher education sector, which has been suffering from fundamental issues prior to the emergence of the country’s current crises.
Further Proposals for concrete measures in support of Lebanese higher education institutions and organisations
As a follow-up initiative to the dialogue sessions, this section highlights on-point proposals developed and submitted by Lebanese institutions of higher and technical education that are seeking support from possible donors/aid agencies and other institutions that would be willing to help.
This initiative was developed to encourage the creation of potential links between institutions and providers of support, as well as with possible donors and aid agencies.
Kindly note that the role of the HOPES-LEB project and the National Erasmus+ Office in Lebanon is strictly limited to the creation of possible links between institutions and providers of support, possible donors and aid agencies and do not entail any further service or the provision of funding.
In this perspective, institutions and organisations are invited to submit their ideas for proposals and interventions to be be promoted on this page by downloading and filling the form below and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is a database of ideas for proposals and interventions received to date.
Kindly note that this section will be updated constantly with new ideas that need support and funding!
These proposals were developed as a follow-up to the joint series of stakeholder dialogues organised by the HOPES-LEB and the National Erasmus+ Office of Lebanon. The content of these proposals is the sole responsibility of the sending organisations and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the HOPES-LEB consortium partners, the National Erasmus+ Office of Lebanon nor the European Union.
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