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Lebanon schools struggle to integrate Syrian children

UN agencies struggle to meet the education needs of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon.
Syrian refugee children attend a class inside a makeshift school, supported by UNICEF and in cooperation with the Beyond Association, in Zahle in the Bekaa valley October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir (LEBANON - Tags: EDUCATION SOCIETY IMMIGRATION CIVIL UNREST POVERTY) - RTR4B6RH

AKKAR, Lebanon — With children making up nearly half of its casualties — almost 40% of them under the age of 11 — the Syrian war enters its fifth year this week, forcing the world to witness a prolonged global catastrophe, or what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) calls “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.”

For many of these young Syrians, education is the fine line between survival and advancement; to others it is an inaccessible luxury or a lost dream. The education crisis — a calamity whose challenges far exceed funding issues and financial shortcomings — not only poses a threat to a lost Syrian generation, but is also weighing heavily on the educational infrastructure and future of children in Syria’s smallest neighboring country, Lebanon.

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