Toward an Educational Reform Movement in the Arab World: TAMAM Lebanon Hub Experience

Toward an Educational Reform Movement in the Arab World: TAMAM Lebanon Hub Experience: by Rima Karami-Akkary, Noha Chaar, Rania El Hage, and Feyrouz Salemeh – 2020


The TAMAM Lebanon Hub project was launched in 2015 upon receiving a grant from Lore Foundation, a local foundation that supports educational initiatives targeted at the Lebanese public schools to provide every child with the best education possible.

The objectives of the Hub project were set to achieve school improvement that: 1) focuses on developing students holistically and prepares them to be productive and responsible citizens; 2) improves teachers’ performance and involvement in the school improvement process to become agents of change capable of facing the challenges of public schools while sustaining their momentum; and 3) engages the school’s parents, community and students in the shared responsibility of this improvement process.

During its five years, the Hub project has succeeded to build the leadership capacity for change of six leadership teams in geographically distributed public schools in Lebanon following the TAMAM Capacity Building Program. The schools were : Bzal Mixed Public School (Students: 243; Teachers: 32; Leadership team: 4), Ghbeiri Second Mixed Public School (Students: 400; Teachers: 38; Leadership team: 7), Jezzine Elementary Public School (Students: 160; Teachers: 45; Leadership team: 8), Kfarruman Second Intermediate Public School (Students: 657; Teachers: 57; Leadership team: 11), Rachel Edde Public School (Students: 233; Teachers: 36; Leadership team: 3), and Tarbiya Haditha Public School for Girls (Students: 852; Teachers: 70; Leadership team: 6). 

In addition to that, the Hub steering team (HST) which comprised the TAMAM director, a senior coach, an expert in community building and local development and a senior researcher/Hub coordinator added, in collaboration with the TAMAM steering team, two new dimensions to the original TAMAM Capacity Building Program which are forming “Partnerships with the Parents and the Local Community” using the Socio-cultural approach and “Promoting Student Leadership”. During the first four years of the project, each of the six schools identified a school improvement need and were able to implement their improvement initiatives, within the project’s period, under the guidance of the Hub steering team and the help of expert coaches who were recruited to train educational practitioners at the participating schools as needed by their improvement plans.

The schools’ improvement needs were the following:

Bzal Mixed Public School

Developing the love of learning and the motivation of Cycle One students

Ghbeiri Second Mixed Public School

Increasing the engagement of Grade 7 students in school life

Jezzine Elementary Public School

Enhancing an Inclusive learning environment: Designing differentiated learning experiences in Arabic language for Grade 4 students

Kfarruman Second Intermediate Public School

Designing an educational and developmental model for Supervision enhanced by Information Technology

Rachel Edde Public School

Addressing the psycho-social challenges to improve the learning experience of Grade One students

Tarbiya Haditha Public School for Girls

Adopting a comprehensive educational approach to develop the personal and social aspects for Grade 6 students

The Hub steering team completed many activities during the project period. These activities included 9 workshops held at AUB – an average of 2 workshops per year, 4 gatherings that included networking activities with the TAMAM community in Lebanon and the Arab countries, advocates of TAMAM, international researchers and expert coaches, 15 individualized visits by the senior coach to each school – an average of 3 school visits per year, 8 individual strategic meetings between the TAMAM Director and each school principal – an average of 2 meetings per year, 2 Principals group meetings, a number of trainings by the internal and external expert coaches (Bzal:2 workshops; Ghbeiri: 3 workshops, 15 training sessions and 7 coaching visits ; Jezzine: 3 workshops and 110 coaching visits; Kfarruman: 6 workshops, 7 follow-up visits and 13 coaching visits; Rachel Edde: 2 workshops and 2 follow-up visits; Tarbiya Haditha: 3 workshops, 3 follow-up visits and 3 coaching visits), daily interactions by the HST with the school teams for support and guidance via WhatsApp messaging, phone calls and emails, 116 weekly HST planning and monitoring meetings, periodic coordination meetings with the TAMAM steering team- an average of 2 meetings per academic year, ongoing research and experimentation for refining the TAMAM Capacity Building Program, 3 proposals for expansion submitted to the Advisory Committee and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, 16 meetings with the Advisory Committee and chairperson – average of 4 meetings per year; and 4 presentations at international conferences and 1 publication in international peer reviewed journal.

Despite the challenging environment surrounding the participating public schools, the commitment of the school lead teams was secured due to the responsiveness of the TAMAM program and its skilled steering team leading to the achievement of the Hub project’s objectives.  The school lead teams successfully implemented their initiatives following the TAMAM Capacity Building Program starting with identifying their improvement needs up to evaluating their implementation plans. They also acquired, as part of the program, the TAMAM competencies of inquiry, evidence-based decisions, reflective practice, decisions based on needs, evolving design planning, professional collaboration, systematic documentation, de-privatization of practice, job embedded experiential learning, participative leadership and mentoring. By the end of the fourth year, the school principals succeeded in developing strategic plans for improvement to their schools and were able to disseminate TAMAM culture over the whole school. They fully adopted the TAMAM approach for school improvement and started applying it in new initiatives of their own, involving the whole educational staff.