The National Day for Students with Learning Difficulties that Lebanon celebrated for the first time this year was not a goal in itself, but an important milestone towards the fulfillment of a major goal: every child’s right of education, particularly children with learning difficulties. Adopting the National Day is an acknowledgement of this right, and was an integral part of an awareness campaign that succeeded in drawing the attention of Lebanese people from diverse backgrounds and age-groups. For instance,
- 3.8 million people received mobile test messages (SMS) from the Ministry of Telecommunications announcing April 22nd as the National Day
- All local media corporations – and some foreign ones too – covered the launching of the National Day and the seminars and activities that followed, informing at least tens of thousands of Lebanese and others from outside Lebanon
- Representatives from more than 50 educational institutions (public and private) attended the launching event that was held at UNESCO. Since then, more than 50 such organizations have approached us seeking our collaboration in addressing the special education needs of their students
- Consequently, our SKILD Center for Smart Kids with Individual Learning Differences received more than 1000 calls and 2000 text enquiries from parents and people desiring to learn more about what needs to be done and how can SKILD contribute.
The snowball is in motion and is growing in size day by day! All that was achieved during the national awareness campaign was made possible through the concerted efforts and high level of coordination between our SKILD Center for Smart Kids with Individual Learning Differences, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and its Center for Educational Research and Development (CERD), and the British Council in Lebanon. With the support of the educational institutions that participated in organizing the National Day we were able to start this “snowball” rolling, raising interest in the issue of students with learning difficulties and their right of education. Together, we succeeded in rendering this issue a matter of priority at various levels and backgrounds.
The National Day became a National week in the presence of a team of professionals and educators from the Consortium for Global Education who participated in seminars and awareness sessions for parents, teachers…
What’s next?! In parallel with the ongoing individualized services offered at its Center and through partner schools, SKILD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education and the British Council with the purpose of maintaining momentum following the National Day through national-level awareness campaigns, training seminars and workshops for teachers …