By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 23 September 2014:
The 17 February Schools, headquartered in Cairo, with two branches in the Egyptian capital and one . . .[restrict]in Alexandria, has spent the past two months preparing for what it expects to be unprecedented numbers of students – many with financial and emotional needs.
Many families left Tripoli and Benghazi this summer for what they had hoped would be extended vacations to wait out the fighting, only to find themselves still stranded far from home as the 2014-2015 academic year snuck in.
The nine year-old 17 February Schools, which operate on the same schedule and curriculum as primary and secondary schools inside Libya, are a viable option for families who are yet unable to return but do not want their children to fall behind.
Last year, the Alexandria branch had 250 students, but according to Headmistress Magda Ali. The administration expects that the student body will grow by 100 students or more this year.
At the moment it is unclear whether the Libyan government will pay the $1,700 per year tuition for the displaced students, but according to Ali, the school will not require families to pre-pay and it will be flexible with subsequent payments during the year so as to relieve the already-burdened families of the extra financial stress.
The school has also hired a psychologist to work with students who are struggling with post-traumatic stress, violent outbursts, and other emotional issues.
“Many of the students are very sensitive to loud noises and are coming to school talking about having had nightmares,” said Ali.
The psychologist works with the children one-on-one and in groups to talk through the different experiences they have had and the feelings that have emerged as a result. She also does some work with the families in the homes, as some of children’s issues are rooted in family attitudes and practices, she added.
“We have had some problems with boys getting into fights over family backgrounds. For example, one boy will say that he’s from Misrata and, therefore, must fight another boy who comes from Zintan and vise versa,” Ali explained.
The psychologist tries to address these situations by meeting with the parents together with the child in addition to the group sessions with the children at school. [/restrict]