Wednesday, March 17, 2010


In a meeting yesterday I discovered some fascinating things about the wretched state of the education system in Lebanon.

1. There are two schools in Lebanon that you have to cross the border into Syria and back into Lebanon to get to because there are no roads directly to the school. To other schools children must walk through fields because of a lack of roads. Schools are often located in buildings that are falling apart, old stables, or buildings without roofs.

2. Lebanese high schools are really good because by the time children get old enough to attend high school, the bad students (i.e. poor students) have already dropped out of school.

3. There is a school in Bourj Hammoud (which is in Beirut) that sits above a fish market where there is a 73% failure rate. I suppose I'd fail, too, if I had to smell fish all day.

4. Teachers who are on contract only get paid once a year, and it's at the end of the year. To live, they depend on salary advance companies, which take up to a 30% fee. Full-time teachers are tenured and impossible to fire, so they often don't bother showing up to class.

5. The Education Ministry has historically been so corrupt that anyone who needs a job and knows somebody can be appointed as a teacher, no matter how unqualified.


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