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    06-Mar-2021

Lebanon’s Schools Threaten to Close for a Week to Protest Lack of Funds

 

AFP

 

Public and private schools in Lebanon could suspend online classes for a full week, in a move announced by the caretaker Minister of Education, Tarek Al-Majzoub, to protest against the government’s failure to provide financial support to the sector and to secure a safe return for teachers and students.
 
 
In a press conference on Friday, Majzoub said that since the formation of the government, his ministry submitted a project to secure LBP 500 billion (about USD 5 million, based on the black market price), to be distributed to teachers and families of students in public and private schools.
 
 
“Unfortunately, the project has not been placed on the agenda of any parliamentary session, despite passing through all the committees,” the minister said.
 
 
Majzoub criticized the government’s failure to provide students with a low-cost or free-of-charge internet package to enable them to study remotely, pointing to other difficulties, including power rationing.
 
 
During the past weeks, remote learning was frequently interrupted due to long hours of electricity cuts. Many parents also complained about their inability to purchase a computer or a tablet so that their children could follow their online classes.
 
 
At the beginning of the current academic year, an agreement was reached with the governor of the Central Bank on a project to support learners with the amount of LBP one million (about USD 100). However, the project was “withdrawn for unconvincing reasons,” according to Majzoub.
 
 
Majzoub also objected to not giving teachers a priority in the vaccination plan, noting that the relevant international organizations, including UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), said the educational sector should immediately follow the healthcare professionals in terms of vaccination priority.
 
 
The minister stressed that the educational sector was now facing two options: either to secure the elements for a safe re-opening of schools or to stop online classes completely.
 
 

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