The Embassy of Italy in Beirut, through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, announced today a €2 million funding commitment in support of UNICEF’s school rehabilitation programme to create a more conducive learning environment for students and teachers in Lebanon.

Since 2015, with funding from Italy, UNICEF has conducted major rehabilitation works in 38 public schools across the country, benefiting over 22,000 students who now attend classes in improved and safer facilities. 7 additional schools are currently under rehabilitation with Italy’s support.

In his speech, Head of the Primary Education Department at MEHE, Mr. George Daoud, representing the minister of education and higher education Dr Abbas Al Halabi, expressed his appreciation to all the effort that the Italian government and UNICEF are making; saying “that the efforts indicate the global concern of the donors, by supporting Lebanon through empowering the Lebanese schools, throughout making qualitative development, and securing a comfortable and safe educational environment for the students”.

Concluding, by calling all donors “to continue their support, especially during these tough times Lebanon is going through, specifically the private and public educational sector.”

The new financial contribution will enable UNICEF to improve the hygiene, health and safety standards in five more schools that have not yet been supported by the programme. The rehabilitation works will transform these schools into more friendly spaces for children with disabilities, including by installing ramps across the facilities and making bathrooms more accessible.

The Ambassador of Italy, Nicoletta Bombardiere, declared: “The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation focuses its efforts in the education sector on the rehabilitation of public schools, in order to guarantee a safe and positive environment in which children can receive a quality education, and develop the human qualities that will constitute the basis of the society of tomorrow. Our vision puts people at the centre of the Italian aid policy”.

“Rehabilitated schools with enhanced construction and safety standards have a highly positive effect on the teaching and learning environment of children” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. “Education disruption for the past three years has resulted in a severe learning loss. Ensuring that children remain in school is a priority for UNICEF and rehabilitated facilities will not only improve the health and safety of students but will also help the overall wellbeing of students in their new classrooms.”

The rehabilitation works include installing and repairing doors and classroom platforms, tiling schoolyards, painting school buildings and classrooms, installing new glass windows and external plastering for facades, and maintaining electrical systems.

Each school will also be assessed to receive, where possible, an energy-saving system including photovoltaic cells and solar panels complementing the public infrastructure in Lebanon. The measures will help reduce the cost of electricity in the long term and contribute to the power supply of schools throughout the scholastic year.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon