American Univesity of Beirut

Call for Proposals - School to College Transitions among Vulnerable Youth in Lebanon

​​​​​​The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) at the American University of Beirut (AUB), through the Education and Youth Policy Research program is implementing a project titled “School to College Transitions among Vulnerable Youth in Lebanon". The project addresses the critical issue of school to college transition among the vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugee youth in Lebanon who are at a high risk of dropping out. The aim of the project is to guide vulnerable groups of young people as they face this sensitive period of their lives in order to make better informed academic and career choices. The project specifically explores how vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugee youth transition from secondary to tertiary education and the initiatives that facilitate the process. This will be achieved in part, through commissioned research studies that will be presented in a conference in June 2020, whereby leading researchers, scholars, and high-level policy makers will address these issues and suggest recommendations on ways to encourage marginalized youth to pursue tertiary education in Lebanon.

Project Background

The low enrollment rate of youth at the secondary level in Lebanon impacts the tertiary level as even fewer youth are pursuing a university education [1]​. Among the refugee population only 2.4% living in Lebanon have enrolled in secondary schools. Research conducted by IFI has shown that most of the refugee youth in the country face challenges in pursuing secondary and university education for reasons related to the high cost of education, the burden of providing for the household, as well as limited opportunities in securing university admission and labor market choices. Additional challenges include language barriers and the competition with Lebanese students when applying to universities particularly in the case of  refugee students whose high schools do not prepare them for Lebanon's higher education system. In light of the recent socio-economic crisis in the country, marginalized Lebanese youth are also facing challenges to complete their secondary education and pursue a university degree. Vulnerable youth remain in a precarious situation and are susceptible to dropping out because of financial difficulties and an uncertain future. Particularly, as research has shown, the highest school dropout rates are observed among boys who are 14 to 18 years old or in grades 9 to 12. Therefore, it becomes essential that this vulnerable group of young people are directed to make informed decisions about their future.

Project objectives and priorities​

In this context, we are seeking papers that explore ways to assist vulnerable youth in continuing their post-secondary and university education. Themes include but are not restricted to addressing the following questions:

  • What are the initiatives that facilitate the school to college transitions?
  • What is an ideal transition from high school to university?
  • What are the university and career guidance opportunities available to vulnerable youth?
  • What are some mechanisms of incorporating university and career guidance in schools?


Solicited papers will be presented during the conference. Scholarly papers may focus on conceptual issues, present empirical work or critical reflections on any of the themes of the conference.
For individual academic paper submissions, please send an abstract of 500-1000 words, with a list of 3-5 keywords.

How to Submit

Please submit your proposals to by March 25, 2020.

I​​mportant deadlines

  • 25 March 2020 - Submission of proposals
  • 15 April 2020 - Announcement of acceptance/rejection​
  • 25 May 2020 - Submission of full papers
  • June 2020 – Presentation at conference (Date TBC)
Papers presented at the conference will be published either as conference proceedings or as a special issue in a peer reviewed journal.

[1] In 2016, the gross enrolment rate at the secondary level in Lebanon was 51.94% as per the statistics reported by the World Bank. Source:

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