Jesuit Refugee Service and Entreculturas Call for Improved Access to a Quality Education for Syrians at the Brussels IV Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region
The Jesuit Refugee Service in the Middle East & North Africa (JRS MENA) accompanies and serves Syrian people displaced by the conflict, and education is a cornerstone of our work. JRS MENA and Entreculturas urge participants in the fourth Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region to provide resources and support efforts that improve access to quality education for Syrian children in the region.
Syrian children’s access to education has deteriorated significantly in the last 12 months, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of schools across the region. This has been compounded by a rapidly deteriorating economy, particularly in Lebanon and Syria, and the subsequent impact on child protection concerns. Children are now at a heightened risk of child labour, early marriage and other protection concerns such as drug abuse, juvenile delinquency and exploitation by criminal gangs.
JRS and Entreculturas believe that education is an inherent human right and a life-saving intervention in the context of the Syrian crisis. Education affords protection to children and is key to building their future. JRS MENA is currently offering holistic non-formal and informal education programmes, mainstreaming Mental Health and Psychosocial Support throughout in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
JRS and Entreculturas are calling for:
- Rehabilitating, utilising or constructing school buildings to reduce overcrowding in classrooms and to improve access for children with disabilities;
- Systematic teacher training programmes focusing on pedagogical skills, child protection and well-being, and disability inclusion;
- Provision of transportation for children and financial support to caregivers;
- Consistent and adequate remuneration for teachers;
- Funding of holistic non-formal education that is flexible and accessible for out of school or working children, and includes Psycho-Social Support;
- Consistent waiver of documentation requirements to improve access to schools for refugees.
JRS and Entreculturas urge conference participants to take these recommendations into consideration in order to uphold the rights of Syrian children and improve their access to quality education.