Understanding Quality Education in a Social Justice and Capabilities Framework: “7ibr w Jisr” Case Study


The report at hand explores the non-formal education program, “7ibr w Jisr,” as a case study through which it attempts to present a holistic good quality education model by relying on principles of Social Justice (Tikly & Barrett, 2011) and Capabilities (Sen, 7“ .)2009ibr w Jisr” is a youth education program that provides Basic Literacy and Numeracy (BLN),

Digital Literacy, Life Skills and Pyscho-Social Support (PSS) for 160 students (80 per year) Syrian refugee students in Bar Elias in the Bekaa Valley. The report provides an exhaustive and self-critical in-depth evaluation of the program.

As mentioned, the guiding theory in the report is the Social Justice theory and the Capabilities approach which rely on the three social justice dimensions to education which are: inclusion, relevance and democracy. Social Justice Theory emerges from the concept of equal worth and equal participation in a just society. The capabilities approach focuses on developing “capabilities” or opportunities for marginalized individuals through quality education that can be transformed into “functionings” or achievements that they value, while grounding education within existing socio-economic and political status quos. The Social Justice and Capabilities framework are alternatives to the Human Capital and Human Rights approaches, as they combine and build on them. The methodology followed in the report is the qualitative study design. We explore the knowledge and perceptions of the 7ibr w Jisr teachers, trainers, staff and managers, as well as the learning experiences of the students, through semi-structured in-depth interviews that aim to evaluate 15 quality education components namely (Information and communication technologies, Innovative Methods, Teacher training, Monitoring and evaluation, Cost-effectiveness, Psycho-social support and Life Skills,

Protection mechanisms, Accessible facilities, Nutrition, Certification, Parent support, Curriculum adaptation, Gender sensitization, Extra-curricular activities, and Community Participation), and the 7ibr w Jisr students’ narratives of their learning experiences. A number of methodological challenges were encountered during instrument design and data collection which are mainly the postponing of data collection with students until after the coronavirus lockdown measures are eased, unreachable students who relocated and unavailability of data collectors and interviewers from the Bar Elias community. The main findings of the report indicate that 7ibr w Jisr delivers good quality education through inputs of teacher training, curriculum adaptation, cost-effectiveness, innovative methods, ICTs, gendersensitization, monitoring and evaluation, protection mechanisms, PSS and Life Skills, accessible facilities, nutrition, and community participation. Certification, extra-curricular activities, home-school links and parent support are quality education inputs that need to be boosted. This means that the 3 social justice principles were met. Inclusion was ensured as 7ibr w Jisr helps students overcome economic, social and political barriers that prevent them from transforming opportunities into valued and desired achievement, by catering to their specific needs. Relevance was met because 7ibr w Jisr compliments and adequately adds to students’ lives on the individual and communal levels.

Finally, democracy was fostered by embracing equal participation within the community, community voice and public debate, throughout the various stages of the program’s design and implementation. Concerning students’ learning experiences, we identify 7 main themes: self-confidence, bonding & friendship, career ambitions, feminist awareness, feedback & complaints, parent support and coping mechanisms. These in turn help foster 7 remarkable capabilities which are: autonomy, knowledge, social capital, respect and recognition, aspiration and motivation, voice and emotional well-being. We conclude the report with best practice recommendations for each quality education component as well as recommendations for policy change for Syrian refugee students in Lebanon.

Source: Syrian Arab Republic