Finally.. the start of the “official” school year in Lebanon

The teachers’ committees in the public sector suspended the strike, which lasted for four months, after the expiry of more than half of the academic year, in an educational precedent in Lebanon that witnessed the closure of the doors of most public schools to students.

Sky News Arabia learned from relevant educational sources in the public sector that a meeting chaired by Mikati, on Monday, in the presence of the head of the Parliamentary Education Committee Bahia Hariri and Minister of Education Abbas al-Halabi, in addition to the various committees of contract teachers in public education, ended in agreement to return to Education on a regular basis starting from Tuesday morning across the country.

Thus, a precedent is set in Lebanon, where the school year for formal education begins in February.

In the information conveyed by the contracting teachers to resolve the crisis, it was stated that Mikati requested the inclusion of 100 billion pounds in the general budget as a transfer allowance for them, which they considered fair to them, and therefore they decided to stop their strike and return to schools.

And the former media secretary in the Association of Secondary Education in Lebanon, Malak Mahrez, revealed to “Sky News Arabia”, a return to education in the formal sector since Tuesday morning.

“After the approval of the majority of members and consultation with the elected administrative body, the decision was taken to return to physical education,” she said.

According to private information from the Ministry of National Education to the “Sky News Arabia” website, 60,000 male and female students had abandoned public schools, while another 20,000 were registered in less expensive schools, due to the strike of public sector teachers to obtain their financial demands.

After the study was disrupted for about 4 months due to the boycott of teachers, especially contractors, to request transportation allowance and social grant, public schools lost a quarter of their students.

Al-Halabi had stated before the decision to return the teachers that “it is too early to resolve the fate of the official exams,” and the minister promised to secure support from donors to save the situation, and said, “What concerns me is the completion of the school year.”

The head of the effective committee for contract teachers in formal basic education, Nasreen Shaheen, told “Sky News Arabia” that the formal education sector includes about 420,000 students, 60,000 of whom have left for the private sector.

A parent of four students, a family head in the military, told Sky News Arabia: “I cannot enroll my four children in private schools. I only registered two of them at the high school (baccalaureate) stage.”

He added, “But the most serious problem is that my children have moved to private commercial schools, which seek to attract formal education students with attractive offers, but they do not provide the minimum level of quality education.”

The media specialist in educational affairs, Imad Al-Zoghbi, said that about 25,000 students moved at the beginning of the current academic year from private schools to public schools due to the economic crisis, including about 8,000 in secondary education and the rest in basic education.

Al-Zoghbi explained to “Sky News Arabia”: “It is not true that all schools were closed, as 70 percent of schools were working, of which 54 percent were fully taught.”

He added: “In Lebanon, there are more than 12,500 contract teachers, compared to 1,500 in the owners (the official position), and the state bears the greatest responsibility in this field, since successive ministers of education did not seek to open the door for employment through open or closed competitions, to end the heresy of contracting and install them as teachers in Ministry”.

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