15 January 2016

International Alert released a study documenting the impact of mixed and segregated schooling of Lebanese and Syrian students on social cohesion in Lebanon. The research, conducted between May and July 2015 in Beirut, shows how mixed classes improve the perception Lebanese children have of their Syrian counterparts, as opposed to the negative perceptions of Lebanese pupils in segregated classes.

Due to the high number of Syrian refugee children, the Lebanese school day has been split into two shifts, a morning mixed one and an afternoon one reserved exclusively to Syrians. Those attending the morning shift benefit more from the academic programme and social life and the perceptions that Lebanese children and their parents have of Syrians are more positive due to the daily contact and interaction. However, contacts between Syrian and Lebanese children outside the classroom environment remain limited.

The report includes a number of recommendations for the Lebanese government, aimed specifically at acknowledging the positive impact of the morning shift mixed schooling and to replicate it as much as possible. It also highlights the need to provide extracurricular activities – with a special focus on girls – to improve the cohabitation of Lebanese and Syrian children.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 15 January 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.