Education and Youth Policy




Investing in education brings forth benefits to the nation as well as to the individual by yielding high socio-economic returns. Many studies have found that more schooling is associated with higher individual earnings and improved social welfare. The education sector within a nation state is seen as the platform for raising the skill level of workers, which ultimately leads to higher economic productivity. Education also enables individuals to become competent and responsible citizens. This is achieved by giving them an opportunity to acquire an understanding of the values they hold, an appreciation of what they mean to life, and better equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to make better decisions that would impact their lives. Therefore, investing in education has significant social benefits as much as it has economic returns to the individual and the society. It affects human well-being not only in directly increasing human qualities and skills for economic production and market exchange, but also in enlarging individual opportunity sets by giving people new possibilities to enrich their lives. The importance of education, at all its levels, is clearly reflected in the post 2015 sustainable development agenda, which emphasizes lifelong learning beyond the traditional school. 

Given the significant role of education in society and the key role of youth in development, the program on Education and Youth Research is well positioned to address issues of youth and education in the Arab world with the aim of informing policy for improved education achievement and for addressing youth issues as they relate to education and employment.


The Education and Youth Policy Research program at the AUB Policy Institute aims at informing educational policy and promoting improved educational practices and achievement through an increased understanding of the issues of education in the Arab world and their impact on children and youth in the region. 
The program further aims at engaging in applied, policy-relevant research to help policymakers make decisions based on best available information. The program will serve as a resource for government agencies and other institutions in order to shape the education and youth policy debate through evidence. 
The mission of the Education and Youth Program will be accomplished by:

Collaborating with AUB faculty members on policy-relevant research
Producing and disseminating original research
Providing the tools and resources to utilize research for informed policy-making and improved practice
Working in collaboration with institutions of common focus

Main ​​Contacts Program Director​

Hana Addam El-Ghali, Program Director​
Ext. 4154 ||| Email:

Maya Maddah, Research Assistant
Ext: 3396 ||| Email:

Nour Zeidan, Research Assistant
Ext: 4448 ||| Email:

Sara Abdellatif, Research Assistant
Ext: 3237 ||| Email:

Short-Contract Staff

  • Shaymaa Chaarani
  • Emma Ghosn
  • Nidal Jouni
  • Al Hasnaa Keftaro
  • Sara Tawil
  • Mazen Kobrosli
  • Fida Alameddine

Interns and Volunteers

  • Razan Kanaan
  • Maia Debs
  • Mohammad Chaar
  • Salpy Kanimian
  • Mona Zawdeh


Focus Ar​eas

Focus Area #1: Tertiary Education 

This focus area will address the study of issues within tertiary education in the Arab world. Access to education in most countries of the Arab world expanded quite rapidly in the past decade, particularly to tertiary education. As a result, progress has been made in enrollment and completion rates in both secondary and higher education. Yet the dramatic expansion of post-basic education in the Arab world is not living up to the expectations of employers, families, and young graduates. Many graduates are not getting jobs and many employers claim that young graduates are not well-equipped with relevant skills. It is strongly believed that the key to restoring a sense of dignity and agency among the youth in the region and for an increased productivity is through accountable educational systems. The program will focus on studying the different aspects of tertiary education that can contribute to an improved system of post-basic education better aligned with the demands of the society and the market. This will be achieved by systematically developing research studies that understand the current situation of the tertiary education systems in the region and provides insights and policy recommendations for improvement.  

Focus Area #2: Youth and Employment  

This focus area addresses issues of youth and lifelong learning, particularly through looking at transitions to employment and on the job training. Unemployment is more prevalent in countries of the Arab world than in other middle-income regions, as a high proportion of the working-age population, particularly women and youth, experiences high unemployment. The high unemployment is predominantly a youth phenomenon, not only resulting from high unemployment rates among the young, but also from the young’s demographic weight in the working-age population in the region. Studies reveal that the height of the youth bulge will be observed in the region by 2030 with an estimated increase of 10 million of the school age population (0-24 years). In addition to the high youth population, employers in the region complain of the low relevance of the skills of applicants to firms’ business needs. Therefore, this focus area explores the employability of youth in the region, through engaging in research studies that provide a better understanding of the current situation in order to address policy concerns. 

Focus Area #3: K-12 Education 

Most countries of the Arab world do not fare well in international student assessment. This indicates that the quality of education in the region is low (by international standards), revealing that too many students are not learning. The low quality and relevance of education are widely seen as the most important reason for the failure of educational and training systems in countries of the Arab world to produce employable graduates. Numerous plans have been put forth and many attempts at implementations have gone through in a number of countries of the region, all aiming at improving educational outcomes of nations, however, the low quality of education persists in many of the regions K-12 systems. This focus area will explore issues within K-12 education in the Arab world, particularly addressing issues of improved quality and equity in access to education and educational opportunities, providing practical implications and policy recommendations.

On-going R​​esearch/Projects

  • A26 BP
  • WB Vulnerability Study
  • EDT Teacher Study
  • UNHCR DAFI Scholars Study
  • UNHCR Connected Learning Study
  • AGFE Study on Higher Education for Refugees
  • Syrian Teacher Academy
  • Non-formal Education Conference


  • National Qualifications Framework
  • Connected Learning
  • UNHCR HQ Geneva

Completed ​​​Research/Projects

Mapping Education Policies for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey

The Syrian refugee crisis has become one of the most challenging contemporary global humanitarian crises. Not only has the three-year conflict resulted in the tremendous loss of lives and livelihoods for Syrians, it has also led to the creation of a generation of lost and traumatized refugee children in dire need of education throughout their prolonged displacement. Around 3.1 million children and youth inside Syria and in neighboring countries are in need of education. Education has become one of the largest issues impacting Syrian refugee in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Furthermore, it has emerged as a priority for a number of international organizations and local NGOs. However, host countries remain central to the policies and practices that govern access and retention of these children in the education system across all levels. This study will map the policies and practices that influence the access of Syrian refugees to primary education in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. It will also present the varied modes of education available for these students in each of the host countries listed, and investigate the intersection (if any) between the roles of each of the NGOs, INGOs, and local government stakeholders in mitigating the emergent crisis of education. Study findings will provide a better understanding of the policy context of the education of Syrian refugees in each of the host countries, providing policy makers with a comparative lens to look at the current status and possible policy recommendations for a possible response.

Youth voices: Exploring priorities among host communities and adolescent refugees in Lebanon and Egypt through participatory action research (PAR)

The AUB Policy Institute and the Save the Children International have recently embarked on a joint project, titled “Youth voices: Exploring priorities among host communities and adolescent refugees in Lebanon and Egypt through participatory action research (PAR)”. The aim of this project is to identify the barriers to positive development faced by adolescent refugees, as well as by adolescents from host communities in Lebanon and in Egypt. The project also aims to identify possible solutions to these barriers, as suggested by the youth themselves. To this end, the project will employ a participatory action research (PAR) approach, a form of research built on the assumption that those affected by an issue are in the best position to research it. In PAR, research partners from target communities work in close collaboration with a professional research team to choose the issues they want to research, the tools they want to use to explore these issues, and how they want to disseminate their findings. Research partners become empowered as a result of the PAR process, because it allows them to reflect on issues they face within their community. The research partners choose how they believe their research findings can be translated into community interventions that are meant to benefit their community. In Lebanon and in Egypt, outcomes of the youth’s research will inform interventions that address their needs. Findings will also provide an evidence-base for future work with adolescents and youth facing humanitarian crises, which is a priority for Save the Children in the region.

National Youth Policy:​​ Lebanon as a Case Study

The AUB Policy Institute and the National Youth Forum in Lebanon have partnered on a study of the national youth policy in Lebanon, which is an essential instrument guiding and institutionalizing a country’s commitment to youth development. The elaboration and implementation of such policies in the MENA region have been weak and slow; Lebanon is no exception. The Lebanese Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) MASAR has been one of the main local actors in leading and facilitating the national youth forum which includes youth NGOs and youth wings from various political parties. This study, aims at providing in-depth understanding of the decision-making process entailed by the national youth policy in Lebanon. It aims to evaluate achievements of the policy initiative, constraints in formulation and prospects for implementation. It further addresses the role of youth in the policy-making process. It specifically examines the policy-making process, the role of CSO’s in the process, the objective of generating insights about how policies are made, what influences policy-making and the use of evidence in this process.

Leveraging the Qua​​lity of Higher Education in Lebanon: A policy tracing study (completed study)

In this study, the AUB Policy Institute looked closely at the policy-making process in Lebanon by examining the draft law on quality assurance in higher education as a case study. Understanding the dynamics of developing policies is critical for improving the higher education sector particularly in highly politicized contexts like Lebanon. The analysis of the policy development of the draft quality assurance law aims at generating in-depth insights on the public policy-making process, identifying factors that influence policy-making and other contextual elements that impact the progress of the policy. The study employed a qualitative descriptive research design that drew on semi structured interviews, and media and document analysis. Thematic analysis was conducted based on the Walt and Gilson Policy Triangle Framework and the Multiple Streams Theory. Findings highlighted the complex nature and unstructured approach to policy-making in Lebanon. This study identified the barriers that hindered the progress of the draft quality assurance law. It also shed the light on the importance of wide engagement of stakeholders. Findings were interpreted within the context of the Lebanese political environment.