Launching of an Awareness Campaign for a better inclusive education

The “Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développment (IECD)” and “Foyer de la Providence” launched the awareness campaign “For a better integration of Palestinian children and youth with learning difficulties in formal and non-formal education sector”. The launch took place during a press conference held at the UNESCO Palace and was attended by Abel Piqueras Candela, Education Programme Officer at the EU Delegation in Beirut, Nicolas Pinton, Director MENA region at IECD, Father Nicolas Saghbini, Director of Foyer de la Providence, and Salem Dib, Deputy/Chief Field Education Programme & School Education Officer in Lebanon at UNRWA, as well as partner NGOs, institutions and the media.

The project, which is funded by the European Union, contributes to the early detection of learning difficulties and initiates targeted intervention within the school by all concerned staff. 24 educational institutions are involved including kindergartens, UNRWA primary schools and vocational training centers working in the Palestinian context. The project implemented in alignment with UNRWA’s strategy on inclusive education as Salem Dib reminded “UNRWA has its own policy and strategy for inclusive education targeting Palestine refugee students in 67 schools in Lebanon. It works with various partners, including IECD, in this context.”

Abel Piqueras Candela said that the European Union's support to this and similar initiatives is based on the importance of education to promote social and economic prospects of children. Palestinian children with special needs, including children with learning difficulties, deserve special attention to avoid their exclusion and drop out. Early detection and diagnosis as well as technical and emotional support can help realise their full potential in their benefit and that of the community.

In fact, research results suggest that early detection and treatment of learning difficulties, as well as a supportive environment, largely affect the improvement of the children’s abilities. The importance of this awareness campaign is to contribute to the elimination of preconceived ideas, a change of perceptions on learning difficulties and the promotion of inclusive education in the Palestinian community, as well as the role of the parents can therefore not be overestimated.

Nicolas Pinton highlighted that “This campaign will consist of parental sessions on learning difficulties in Saida and Beirut, nationwide broadcasting of videos on Palestinian local channels, and spreading of information on learning difficulties through brochures”. This campaign will support inclusive education in Lebanon by getting across this simple message: Together we can learn! “

Father Nicolas Saghbini said: “The service of man, the development of his potential and active role in society are vital in social action, without it the purpose is meaningless. It is within this context that I proudly sign the cooperation between Foyer de la Providence and IECD which transcends all types of differences to be in the service of mankind.”

A documentary, highlighting the importance of inclusive education and the role of a supportive environment, was showcased during the press conference. It included a reportage on the general public perception regarding Learning Difficulties, and as well testimonials of success stories: teachers about their experience in an inclusive school; students who benefited from the diagnosis and treatment program, and are well integrated in their class; and parents who were able to witness the progress of their children.