The Impact of the Multiple Crises on Learning Loss Among Tenth-Grade Students in Lebanese Public Schools


By: Nisrine Chahine, Mohammad Hammoud, Maha Shuayb

We live today in an era marked by educational, social, economic, and security crises. These challenges are not confined to Lebanon alone but are evident across various countries in the region. The ongoing economic and social crisis in Lebanon has had severe repercussions on all sectors, particularly the educational sector, impacting students significantly. According to UNICEF’s Lebanon Crisis Response Plan 2022-2023, the convergence of social, economic, and health crises,—including the COVID-19 pandemic—has led to 700,000 students being out of school, resulting in significant learning losses. Furthermore, the economic crisis that began in 2020 has excluded 1.2 million Lebanese from the education system. A study conducted by the Center for Lebanese Studies found that since 2016, students in public schools have lost a total of 765 actual teaching days.

Therefore, the situation reveals that public school students, compared to their counterparts in high-quality private schools, have been disproportionately impacted by a series of crises. These crises have led to prolonged school closures over four consecutive years, beginning with the economic crisis, extending through the COVID-19 pandemic, and culminating in intensified social and security crises. These educational disruptions were further compounded by strikes and the migration of teachers, which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of instructional weeks—from an average of 32 to just 18 weeks. The number of educational days varied widely among schools, failing to meet even two-thirds of the 165 days typically implemented before the crisis. In the last academic year, 2022-2023, the number of instructional days did not exceed 110 days, with some schools experiencing as few as forty days.

Based on these data, our study primarily addresses the learning loss among tenth-grade secondary school students. Our aim is to improve the educational outcomes for both Lebanese and Syrian students in public schools across three subjects: mathematics, Arabic language, and English language. The severe crises that Lebanon has experienced have impacted all residents, regardless of their nationalities. We chose these three subjects because they are fundamental in studying learning loss, and they have been adopted in several studies. 2 These studies, which include reports from the Ministry of Education, the Educational Center for Development and Research, UNICEF, and the World Bank, supported by various organizations, have established how learning loss is quantified and the mechanisms to overcome it.