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How One Non-profit Foundation Is Trying to Re-shape Education in Northern Lebanon

Lebanon’s long term and concentric sectarian, bureaucratic practices have left the Lebanese people dwelling away from the capital  Beirut and Mount Lebanon with less social, political, economic, and education rights. You can palpate the gradual social inequality as you move from Lebanon’s center towards the inlands. It becomes a clear social schism on the outskirts of Lebanon . This social inequality has only exacerbated as a result of the Syrian crisis with more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees officially living in Lebanon (a country of only 6 million people and an area of only 10,452 km2). Among all sectors, education has suffered the most, in particular North of Lebanon, which although incorporates Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon, has had enormous problems with education equity and access to quality education for decades.

The private education market in Lebanon outweighs the public education market by leaps and bounds  (see my earlier post) with 1.5 billion and 0.3 billion in expenditure respectively in 2015. Most of the public education expenditure goes to Beirut and Mount Lebanon. Lebanon’s private education sector has 53.5% while public education has 44.2% of Lebanese students. However, what’s really intriguing is that out of all students in Lebanon, Beirut and Mount Lebanon have 5.5% and 17.4% in private education while only 1.6% and 2.7% respectively are in the public education (Ministry of Education Stats of 2015- 2016). . In contrast, North Lebanon has 10.9% of students in public education and 12.2% in private education - 3.2% out of which is free private education. This depicts that there is a tremendous education inequality in terms of allocation of funds and access to quality education.


This is why Ahdaf Foundation was established in 2013 by local businessmen, educators, and professionals in Tripoli. As a non-profit foundation in North Lebanon, Ahdaf Foundation aims to have a deep and perpetual positive impact on the community by developing quality education with the right of access to all because “low standard education is preventive of graduating generations capable of conflict resolution and change”.  And it has done an outstanding job in only three years.

Ahdaf operates through three programs/institutions: Its flagship institution Ajwad, Alemni program (teach me), and Eshraqa Academy.

Ajwad institution, namely The Lebanese Center for School Development, provides a holistic approach for school development. Its mission it to “create administrative, pedagogical, and educational systems for the Middle-Eastern schools that enable them to produce highly qualified, globally competitive generations”. Ajwad provides a myriad of services that encompass whole school systems. It provides strategic planning for schools to help them assess their performance and implement achievable school improvement plans. Ajwad also provides continuous high quality but low-cost training workshops for in-service and pre-service teachers. What’s really remarkable is that Ajwad as adopted the teacher coaching model. This means that a teacher is not only trained at Ajwad. A series of coaching sessions ensue the training workshops. This enables the teacher to situate his or her professional development within the contextual dimensions of his/her work.

In addition, Ajwad helps schools to develop and design curricula based on the school and community needs. Ajwad also provides an of array education technology tools, one of which is DARS School Management System. SHR Assistance (School Human Resources)  service is also notable. Knowing that the education sector lacks quality teachers, Ajwad provides comprehensive training for teachers and link these teachers to schools. (Ajwad on Social Media)

Alemni (Teach me) program does not only fund university students for their tuition, but also supports their education by linking them with role models and educators that can help them to excel in college.

Eshraqa Academy program delves into the education inequality problem in Lebanon by empowering the youth in deprived areas with the moral and academic support by building a supporting community around the impoverished students. The result is decreased school dropout rates and increased sense of belonging


Ahdaf Foundation has a very solid purpose and direction, human capital, and resources to bridge the education divide whilst embedding high moral values to educators, students,and school systems alike in country infested with corruption, bureaucracy, and marginalization.

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