The Lebanese educational system is split into two parts: public (government) schools and universities, which are essentially free to attend, and private schools and universities, for which there is a fee for entry. This technique is effective and covers the entire population.
The Development of Public and Private Schools, and Their Differences
The government was under pressure to open more public schools to meet the demands of the general public because the number of students in public schools has increased to more than two-fifths of the total school enrollment. Education used to be almost exclusively the responsibility of religious communities or foreign groups. There are differences between public and private schools when it comes to the foundational stages of education. Private schools have always included a preschool phase and have admitted kids as early as three years old, whereas public schools have not given much attention to the preschool period and have required pupils to be five years old to be enrolled in kindergarten until the 1990s. As a result, pupils in private schools spend one year in nursery school, another in kindergarten, and a final year in middle school. as well as a third year of kindergarten. This could help to explain why students who attend private schools typically perform better academically than students who attend public schools.
To meet the nation’s rising need for education, the Lebanese educational system has often placed a significant emphasis on private education. Private schools in Lebanon have a long and illustrious history and are overwhelmingly dependent on different religious groupings. Due to this reality, the country now boasts a wide range of educational institutions, which might be interpreted as a reflection of how accessible the government is to the world community. Aside from the private schools founded by western clerics (French, Anglo-Saxons, Germans, and Italians), there are a wide variety of secular and religious schools in the local and international communities. The majority of these schools are funded by private religious groups—mainly Jesuits (Catholics who came in 1625 and, with the Maronite’s, established the first religious schools in Lebanon); Presbyterian missionaries who came to the Lebanese capital, Beirut, in 1866 and started a rivalry with Catholics by establishing the American University of Beirut and high schools; and Makasids or Muslim schools started in many mosques in big cities and supported by wealthy Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States. These religious schools led to and fostered some divisions and barriers among the Lebanese people, which have been very hard to break and, in turn, fueled the civil war for many years in Lebanon.
Although private schools have played a significant role in the Lebanese educational system, the Ministry of Education for Youth and Sport has been able to maintain control over it by licensing private institutions and mandating that their graduates pass the government baccalaureate examination at the end of the secondary cycle. Due to these rules and specifications, private schools are now only allowed to slightly diverge from pre-university government curricula.
The first vocational schools opened in Lebanon in the late 1940s. It is mostly offered at the secondary level as well as at the Lebanese University or other institutes of higher education, and it is primarily accessible in the private sector as opposed to the public sphere. In Lebanon, there are 1508 intermediate and secondary public and private schools for general education, but only 262 schools for technical and professional education, split between the public sector (29 schools) and the private sector (233 schools). As a result, less than 12% of schools are specifically designed to teach students in a professional and technical manner, and less than 9% of all students are interested in formal technical and professional programs number of students overall. Therefore, the nation needs a clear balance between the two styles of training. Additionally, this percentage is considerably weaker (1.3%) when only taking into account the intermediate level. Professional education at this level has not received much attention from formal schools, who have instead left it to secondary education in general.
Nearly 95% of children of school age in Lebanon attend school, which is required for all pupils until the end of the intermediate cycle. Lebanese authorities haven’t fully enforced compulsory schooling, notably in distant rural areas and urban slums. All citizens have access to low-cost government schools, however they are typically of lower quality than private schools. Because of the high quality education they receive, parents who can afford it would send their children to private schools and ultimately pay for both their primary and secondary education. Prior to being accepted into college, students are frequently needed to pass a competency entry test.
Lessons, reading assignments, and exercise correction are all things that teachers in Lebanese public schools do all day long. Students typically take a passive role in their education. They quietly pay attention to what their teacher is saying, rarely challenge what is being presented, and duplicate what is being said by the teacher, who mainly relies on textbooks to impart knowledge. Student evaluations are based on oral recitation. In Lebanese public schools, there is a strong emphasis on memorization of facts and events. The application of innovative ideas and techniques has been impeded by the absence of sufficient educational facilities and qualified experts.
The school year starts In early October and ends in late June. The school day consists of six hours starting at 8:00 a.m. with two hour lunch break and ends at 4:00 p.m. The length of class periods ranges from 50 to 55 minutes. Both public and private schools are supposed to observe official holidays, which are decided by the government; however, Christian-administered, religious private schools take Saturday and Sunday off every week, while Moslem-run religious private schools take Friday and Sunday, and Jewish-run private schools take off all of Saturday and Sunday afternoon only.As to special education concerning handicapped students, there were about 10,000 handicapped people in 1975 (prior to the Lebanese civil war). During the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, this number reached 13,000; it is more than 15,000 in 2001. About 2,500 handicapped people were being educated and made ready to enter the work market. In addition, there was a pedagogic plan affirming the necessity of organizing the schooling of gifted students and devoting specific pedagogic programs to them that may address and respond to their fundamental needs. One of these programs is called al-Makfoufine (Blind Program), which consists of mixing blind students with other students in the same classrooms; this has proved to be an effective program.
The methods of instruction used in Lebanese classrooms are mostly traditional. Teachers spend a great deal of time lecturing, giving homework and reading assignments to students, and correcting exercises completed in the classroom. Students play a generally passive role in the instruction process. They listen quietly to their teacher, rarely question what is presented, and copy material dictated by the teacher, who uses textbooks as major sources of instruction. Later on, oral recitation by students is used for grading purposes. Memorization of facts and events is greatly emphasized in Lebanese schools, especially for the purpose of passing external formal exams. Therefore, it is not unusual to see standard answers given to questions on official examinations because certain teachers require their students to memorize model answers for certain topics. Implementation of new ideas and methods has been hampered by the lack of adequate educational facilities and well-trained professionals in that regard. However, private fee-charging schools practice more progressive and advanced methods of instruction, which are geared toward the increasing involvement of students in the instructional process. These interactive methods made some private fee-charging schools more famous in the Middle East region and attracted many students from other Arab or Near East nations.
Because of their quality education and high tuition fees, these private schools attracted students from the richest families, while poor families, who cannot afford to pay tuition fees for their children’s education, have been somewhat satisfied, but not happy, to send them to either public or private tuition-free schools, which are usually subsidized by the government. Private schools are mostly sectarian and controlled by different religious denominations. Other types of private schools are owned by individuals or run by associations or committees, like al-Makassid.
The only disciplines taught In Arabic up until now have been history, geography, civics, and Arabic language and literature. All other subjects have been taught in either French or English, depending on the orientation or affiliation of the school, as all public schools in Lebanon teach either English or French as a basic material in addition to the Arabic language. Public schools in Lebanon follow the Lebanon Educational System’s direct directives, putting all of their attention on academic success while ignoring the emotional needs of their students. They enforce a tight instructional schedule and forbid their students from developing socially, emotionally, or physically. The schools don’t provide any additional opportunities for kids to identify their needs aside from the curriculum.
Because the school does not give them social guides to deal with such circumstances, the instructors told us they have tried to support their students emotionally by listening to their concerns and resolving them in their own way. Both teachers and students are currently impacted by the economic crisis. The teachers are being impacted both professionally and personally by these situations. Teachers and kids are under increased strain due to poverty. The growth of the student is adversely impacted. In order to succeed, students in this position must confront these issues and come up with solutions for themselves. Due to the difficulty in accessing an internet connection—the majority of families have access to electricity —they lack the resources necessary to study power is only available for one or two hours a day, so students must study by candlelight and are unable to conduct research. One instructor informed us that due to the extreme cold this winter and the inability of the pupils to learn in such conditions, they were obliged to close the school.
They did not have the means to turn on the heater. Another teacher related to us how she once saw a second-grade pupil sitting on the corner without eating when she was watching the students during lunch. When she questioned him about it, he explained that he and his sister alternated days of bringing sandwiches to lunch. They discovered that their parents could not offer them two sandwiches on the same day.
The cornerstone of the educational system has recently been rocked by an extraordinary health crisis. It is crucial to develop a detailed picture of students’ online learning experiences during the COVID-19 epidemic given the uncertainty of today. Although this topic has been the subject of numerous research, little is known about the difficulties students face and the particular methods they use to overcome them. So, this research aims to fill the gap. The results of a mixed-methods approach showed that the type and severity of online learning problems faced by college students differed. Their home learning setting presented the biggest problem, whereas technical literacy and competency posed the least amount of difficulty. The studies also showed that the COVID-19 pandemic had the biggest effect on the standard of education and the mental health of pupils. The most common student techniques included resource management and utilization, help-seeking, improving technical aptitude, time management, and learning environment control. Discussion is had regarding the implications for future research, policy, and teaching practices. Recently, the education system has faced an unprecedented health crisis (i.e., COVID-19 pandemic) that has shaken up its foundation. Thus, various governments across the globe have launched a crisis response to mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic on education. This response includes, but is not limited to, curriculum revisions, provision for technological resources and infrastructure, shifts in the academic calendar, and policies on instructional delivery and assessment. Inevitably, these developments compelled educational institutions to migrate to full online learning until face-to-face instruction is allowed. The current circumstance is unique as it could aggravate the challenges experienced during online learning due to restrictions in movement and health protocols .
Due to the ever-growing impact of technology, the global landscape of education has undergone considerable changes since the 1990s. The adoption of online learning in a variety of learning environments, including formal and informal, academic and non-academic, residential and remotely, is one such development. As we started to see schools, teachers, and students increasingly adopt e-learning technologies that allow teachers to deliver instruction interactively, share resources seamlessly, and facilitate student collaboration and interaction.
In December 2019, an outbreak of a novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, occurred in China and has spread rapidly across the globe within a few months. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus that attacks the respiratory system (World Health Organization, 2020). As of January 2021, COVID-19 has infected 94 million people and has caused 2 million deaths in 191 countries and territories (John Hopkins University, 2021). This pandemic has created a massive disruption of the educational systems, affecting over 1.5 billion students. It has forced the government to cancel national examinations and the schools to temporarily close, cease face-to-face instruction, and strictly observe physical distancing. These events have sparked the digital transformation of higher education and challenged its ability to respond promptly and effectively. Schools adopted relevant technologies, prepared learning and staff resources, set systems and infrastructure, established new teaching protocols, and adjusted their curricula. However, the transition was smooth for some schools but rough for others, particularly those from developing countries with limited infrastructure.
Our research paper begins with a set of questions, but it ends up going in a different direction, one that introduces us to the crisis occurring in Lebanon and the ways in which educators and students are dealing with this awful circumstance. Sadly, the economic downturn is making it more difficult for families to afford for children to return to school. As a result, literacy rates decline. The pupils will lag behind more and more while the Lebanon situation continues. Schools in Lebanon are unable to provide what Princeton Public Schools do for its students, such as theatres or other technological resources for emotional support. They have no money to upgrade their schools because they are dealing with such a severe economic situation. Thus intended to begin with a global comparison, but as we did, we discovered that this global comparison is not even viable in light of the crisis. For us, Princeton Public Schools continues to be the model that our schools ought to emulate. We continue to hope that the Lebanese society would make educational investments in the future to provide children attending public schools with this calibre of education.