Public Education in Lebanon: The Pyramid Stands on its Top
The sector of education and Public Education in Lebanon is afflicted by a state of deterioration and decline that may lead to devastating results as to threaten its existence, or to linger in a state of clinical death that would require an ingenious erudite to reassume its natural role in producing a decent education that goes hand in hand with the technological development and the modern teaching methods, so that he could advance the country to keep pace with evolution. This situation has its aspects and reasons, and it proposes solutions that require flexible organizational forms capable of designing a challenging program able to recruit the most popular segments benefiting from the development of education, to prevent the collapse of this sector, and to boost its level to be in the first place in terms of intake and quality.
1- The Aspects of Deterioration
A- The dominance of the Private Teaching Sector:
The first manifestation of deterioration is the horrifying decline of the average of the Lebanese students enrolled in Public Education compared with the average of those enrolled in Private Education. The Statistical Bulletin of the Educational Center for Research and Development indicates that the percentage of the students enrolled in Public Education has declined in the last 15 years. Thus, based on the significant upward rise of the ratio of the Public School students that constituted 33% of the total number of Lebanese students between 1996-1997 and 2001-2002, in comparison with 67% of students enrolled in the Private Education sector in its both parts free and non-free, and that now reached approximately 39% for Public Education and 61% for Private Education, the researcher perceives a decline that raises many questions about the fate of Public Education. The statistics for the academic year 2004-2005 indicate a decline in the number of pupils in the Public School which constituted 36.82% of the total number of students, and this decline continued to reach 28.4% in the academic year 2014-2015, which requires a serious stand to prevent the collapse of the Public School, as well as to restore balance to the quality of Public Education.
B- Sectarian Education:
The second of these aspects is shown in the prevalence of sectarian education on the majority of students after each sect has vertically established its educational institutions, from kindergarten to university, based on laws that deliberately sprinkled a semi-balanced sectarian incitement, at the end of which the sects’ parishes have secluded themselves in their educational institutions.
According to the Statistical Bulletin of the Educational Center, the private fee-paying schools in the two suburbs of Beirut, as an example, attract 18% of the total number of students in Lebanon, while 2.6% of students are affiliated to public schools and 2.8% of them are affiliated to non-fee-paying private schools. This means that Private Education in the suburbs of Beirut alone includes more than one fifth of Lebanon’s students. It is no secret that this education has been mostly sectarian, dividing the society vertically and posing serious threats to the national affiliation.
C- Reversal of the Educational Pyramid:
Perhaps the most important feature of the educational institution success is, in my point of view, the provision of the higher educational stages by the lower stages of the educational institutions, as to provide enough students. As a matter of fact, when each educational stage fails to provide the higher stage with its need of students, the educational institution is at risk of collapse. Continue reading