University graduates attend training at LAU to teach underprivileged children
LAU’s Teacher Training Institute partners with the NGO Teach For Lebanon to train 18 participants to teach in schools in Lebanon’s poverty-stricken areas.
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Upon completion of an ongoing six-week training seminar on LAU’s Beirut campus, 18 fresh graduates from various Lebanese universities will soon be enrolled in a two-year program to teach Lebanon’s most disadvantaged primary-school students in poverty-stricken villages throughout the country’s northern, southern and Bekaa regions.
The seminar, taking place from June 29–August 7, is co-organized by LAU’s Teacher Training Institute and Teach For Lebanon, a local NGO that aims at bringing quality education to underprivileged children. The participants have been selected from over 200 applicants.
“What we are trying to do is to get these graduates to know a little bit about education in Lebanon, to be able to cope with everything in the schools and, at the same time, to make a difference,” says Dr. Rima Bahous, LAU faculty member in the Education Department and TFL advisory board member.
The partnership between TTI and TFL began in 2006 when LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra, a member of TFL’s board of trustees, took notice of the organization’s efforts in underprivileged schools and urged the institute to get involved.
“Dr. Jabbra thought it was a very good cause to fight social injustice by educating the very young children,” Bahous says. “So he told us to try to work with Teach For Lebanon.”
According to Ali Dimashkieh, CEO of TFL, Lebanon’s rural areas lack qualified teachers, many of whom are hired with just the equivalent of a high school diploma.
“In many cases, the teachers don’t have university degrees and there is no other choice,” Dimashkieh says. “Without those types of schools, the children wouldn’t have a school at all,” he adds.
The seminar organizers explain that their efforts go beyond just educating — they also expect the future teachers to be engaged in the local communities.
“Those fellows will not only teach during school hours,” Dimashkieh says, “but will also live in the villages and collaborate with larger groups of people, working on extracurricular activities in the community.”