Dozens of teachers in Lebanon are now on the verge of becoming jobless amid the severe economic crisis that has had a devastating impact on the overall living conditions in the country.
Recently, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) canceled its educational support program that had been active for 12 years.
The program served a crucial role in providing educational assistance for students with special needs from elementary school all the way to secondary school.
In addition, it equipped young kids with pre-school knowledge and skills while also monitoring the implementation of the Education Ministry’s health protocol for schools.
And, exceptionally this year, it produced nearly 500 videos for distance learning amid the ongoing pandemic.
According to Hassan Al-Sayyed, the head of the program in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein El-Helwe and a member of the Teachers Union, the important program ended due to the lack of funding.
In total, this UNRWA program had been directly involved with more than 5,000 students in Lebanon, and provided education and awareness services to around 25,000 students in its schools, he told Al-Akhbar.
With its end, more than 220 teachers will become unemployed, in what Al-Sayyed describes as “a social and humanitarian crisis.”
Notably, these teachers, who started out as volunteers with the UNRWA program, have been getting paid only half a salary in return for working full-time.
The development was met with a demonstration by the Teachers Union on Friday.
The demonstrators demanded that UNRWA retracts the decision, and warned that they will otherwise close schools and hold accountable everyone who was involved in issuing the decision.