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Lebanon's student protest despite missing school year, private education suffers

By Clovis Choueifaty BEIRUT, Dec 15 (KUNA) -- Lebanon's students are heavily involved in the country's protests against what people saw as corruption and misuse of authorities in government.
While the student's noble stance seemed to be appreciated, those of them who took part in the rallies did miss on the school year.
Private educational entities and university were also heavily affected financially due to the absence of students.
Speaking on the issue, Lebanese University Dean of the Faculty of Information Professor Geryes Sadaka indicated that students' participation in protests had affected the school year, delaying it by a month and half.
A new educational agenda was set in place to save what can be saved, he indicated, adding that the students' action had also an effect on the university's correspondence and relations with other international universities.
Professor Sadaka said that many of the members of the faculty had expressed understanding towards the students' stance during rallies; however, there is no denying that the school year took a great hit due to their absence.
Reflecting some of the students' point of view, a law and political science student, preferred not to be named, said that the students were the essence of the popular protests in the country, adding that their calls for justice and anticorruption policies were legitimate.
Contrary to what people perceived, the student indicated that most students were trying to attend lectures and partake in the protests, revealing that most students were kicked out of their part-time jobs as a resulted of the deteriorating economy.
Another student, also preferred anonymity, contradicted the statement of his colleague, saying that the school year was heavily impacted by the students' involvement in the protests.
Meanwhile, the students' absence had a grave bearing on private educational entities, which enrolled 60 percent of Lebanon's students.
The impact led private schools and universities to offer half the salary to the teaching staff due to the lack of liquidity and financial resources.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education called on the students' families to pay their monthly installments to the private entities in which their sons and daughters are enrolled in to provide for teachers' salaries.
The ministry also asked private entities to facilitate the payment of installment for students' families.
The half salary step is not suitable to anyone, said a private school educator who preferred not to be named.
He added that we, the teachers, also have our own payments to make and it is unfair to live on half a salary.
The teacher said that if the current situation continues, some teachers might stop working until the matter was resolved.
Similarly, a head of a Catholic School said that she was facing a crisis in acquiring money to pay for teachers' salaries and other functions related to school logistics and transport.
A large sector of parents could not provide monthly installment to the school because of the economic crisis in Lebanon, she indicating, adding that students should not be denied from entering classes and continue their education as a result.
Since October 17, Lebanon had been grip by serious protests calling for a government of experts to run the country. (end) kbs.gta