Today Ambassador David Hale participated in a ceremony to celebrate the successful partnership between America and the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education to enhance the use of technology in Lebanese public schools. To date, America has invested more than $150 million in Lebanese public schools to ensure that all Lebanese students receive a high quality education.
The American government supports Lebanese public schools through the Developing Rehabilitation Assistance to Schools and Teacher Improvement (D-RASATI 2) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Under D-RASATI 2, USAID has supported the Ministry of Education and Higher Education’s efforts to effectively incorporate technology into the teaching and learning process in public schools. Activities include the purchase and distribution of laptops, tablets and mobile carts to store the devices for 126 secondary public schools throughout Lebanon and in six Centers for Educational Research and Development (CERDs). These schools are now well equipped to use technology in the classroom to enhance teaching of all subjects, including English, Arabic, and sciences. USAID also supported the Ministry to develop Lebanon’s National Educational Technology Strategic Plan and associated action plan, integrating technology into public education. Additionally, USAID provided 700 public school teachers and administrators with in-school, on-the-job coaching on the use of equipment in the classroom.
Below are Ambassador Hale’s remarks as delivered from the event.
Good morning, Director General Yarak, President of CERD Dr. Oweijan, valued teachers and friends. It is an honor for me to join you today to celebrate your efforts and accomplishments, as teachers and administrators, as you work together to bring technology to public schools and enhance students’ learning experience. I might also take this occasion to wish our Muslim friends the blessings of this holy month of Ramadan.
Technology is the great accelerator that drives the world forward. It touches every part of our lives, including education. Schools today, across the globe and here in Lebanon, look very different from the schools of only 10 years ago. Students now have access to computers, smartphones, and tablets and the internet at a very young age. Technology is transforming the world and that certainly includes the way we learn.
The United States government believes in universal access to state of the art education technology in classrooms across public schools in Lebanon. We are proud supporting partners of your efforts and your initiatives in this regard. It is part of our long-term commitment to help Lebanese students access the high quality education that they deserve, and that they need to be active members of their communities and to contribute to peace and prosperity.
Whether through school renovation, teacher training or merit-based scholarships to public school students, we have invested more than $150 million in education to help this youngest generation of learners reach this goal. Thus far, we’ve provided computer equipment to 126 public schools and 6 CERD regional training centers. We believe that the use of computers and tablets in the classrooms accelerates the learning process and motivates students. It will also enable students to gain new skills and advantages in the learning process. We believe these students will be more competitive for high-technology jobs in the knowledge-based economy.
Technology in classrooms is not just about equipment and software. It must be integrated across the entire curriculum to deepen the learning process. To achieve the goal, we have supported the Ministry of Education’s effort to develop Lebanon’s National Educational Technology Strategic Plan. In line with this strategy, we are also helping the Ministry to create an action plan, with the methods, targets, and operational direction needed to enable schools to realize the full potential of educational technology. This action plan will help the Ministry implement its strategy in all public schools and guide planning of future development.
Our support at the policy level is reinforced by activity to help administrators and teachers apply technology to public education. Training and on-the-job coaching is being provided to 700 teachers in 126 schools, equipping teachers with the means to use this new technology to improve student learning.
I would like to especially thank all the teachers present today. You invested your time and effort to enhance your knowledge and enrich the education you provide to public school students nationwide. Your role is crucial. You recognized the immense potential of technology to inspire and lead students to reach new levels of creativity and new potentialities. By integrating technology into your subject areas, you have expanded your roles as mentors, content experts, and coaches.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Minister Bou Saab for all his support to both the D-RASATI project and the Improved Basic Education Services Project. We all know that his energetic leadership has been crucial to overcoming obstacles and inspiring us all.
Now if I may depart from my remarks, I think that many people in Lebanon are aware of the magnitude of US military assistance, the help that we’re providing the Lebanese army to help defend your borders. Every bit as important, but less well-known, is the assistance that we’re providing to the civilian side, particularly with regards to education. The investments that you make in education, and the investments that we help you make in education, are every bit as crucial to empowering youth to make sure that they have the shared values of stability, mutual respect, tolerance, and understanding their role in society. That is the best means we have to defeat extremism.
Thank you all for your commitment to education. Your efforts will go a long way to fuel the future success of your students, and of Lebanon. Thank you very much.