Education has traditionally been one of Lebanon's
strengths. Already in the 19th century Christian
monastic and missionary schools were founded, paid for
by Western countries. Since the 1960s, basic education
has been free of charge in state schools, but students
who can afford it go to private schools, where the
standard is higher.
All religious groups have the right to run their own
schools. Private schools have great freedom, but those
who receive support from the government must submit to
regular inspections by the school ministry.
The school system comprises four stages in each of
three years, that is, a total of twelve years, of which
the first nine are compulsory, starting at six years of
age. For the last three years, students can choose
between science, humanities or technical / vocational
Country facts of Lebanon, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Only seven out of ten children started in year seven.
The dropouts are particularly numerous among the
Palestinian refugee children, especially the girls. In
the Palestinian refugee camps, the UN organization UNRWA
provides primary education and health care.
Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, nearly
half a million Syrian refugee children have also been
added. With the support of international organizations,
Lebanon has had the ambition to offer the children free
schooling, but according to the UNHCR, about half have
not had access to education at all. Many Syrian children
have been forced to work to help their families. Unesco
is one of the organizations working to give them the
opportunity to attend school.
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Literacy in Lebanon amounts to just under 90 percent.
Among women, it is a few percent lower.
Prior to the 1975–1990 civil war, Beirut was a
university town for the entire Middle East, including
the well-known American University of Beirut. However,
the universities were often kept closed during the war
when many schools were destroyed.
The civil war has also left deep wounds in the
curricula. During the fall of 2019, the problem was
highlighted by students who emphasized that the history
books did not teach the war, or important events after
it, such as the Israeli troop retreat from southern
Lebanon in 2000, after the 18-year occupation, and the
mass protests that pushed the Syrian government to
withdraw military presence in 2005.
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FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
86.3 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
91.2 percent (2009)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
8.6 percent (2013)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
8.6 percent (2013)
Hezbollah is pointed out for border tunnels
The UN is reviewing Israeli data that Lebanese Hezbollah has dug tunnels
below the border between the countries. UN peacekeepers find tunnels, but no
exits in Israeli territory. Equally, the tunnels are considered to be a border
violation. Two out of four tunnels extend south of the "blue line", a
demarcation line between the countries drawn up by the UN in 2000 when Israel's
retreat from southern Lebanon, after 18 years of occupation, was confirmed. The
tunnels violate a UN resolution that ended the war fought between Israel and
Lebanon in 2006.
Torpedoing of refugee vessels documented
An Israeli submarine accidentally dropped a ship with refugees in 1982,
according to a program in state-run Israeli television. The refugees tried to
escape the war in Lebanon, but 25 people lost their lives. Israel had entered
Lebanon at the time to expel the PLO and the submarine captain believed the ship
had Palestinian guerrillas on board. The information is taken from documents
that had previously been secretly stamped by Israel's military censorship.
Opinions are divided as to whether the torpedo was a crime and whether the
Israeli defense force has deliberately darkened the incident.
Christian clan leaders make peace
Two Christian families who have been in the lurch for decades have made
peace. Suleiman Franjieh and Samir Geagea sign a document at a televised meeting
of the Maronite Patriarch, promising to "turn leaves". Many influential families
had their own militias during the 1975–1990 civil war, and Christian clans had -
and still have - different views of the Syrian regime's influence in Lebanon. In
1978, Geagea was accused of leading a scare, where among others Franjieh's
parents and little sister were killed. Franjieh is close to the Assad regime,
while Geagea belongs to its determined opponents.
Disappearances during the war years should be investigated
Parliament adopts a law requiring the state to investigate what happened to
people who disappeared during the 1975–1990 civil war and, as far as possible,
to hold those responsible accountable; The guilty shall be punishable by up to
15 years in prison and no more than a fine. Previous attempts to investigate the
disappearances have failed, but those investigations have not been decided by
law. Many of the warlords who led armed groups during the war are still active
in Lebanese politics.
Hezbollah demands slow new government
Sunni Muslims affiliated with the Shiite Hezbollah movement must be prepared
for government seat, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah demands when commenting on the
formation of the government in a televised speech. It has been almost six months
without a new government since the parliamentary elections, and Prime Minister
Saad al-Hariri - who holds firmly in one of the ministerial portfolios on his
own Sunni party - points out Hezbollah as the obstacle. Extended government
negotiations are rather a rule than exceptions in Lebanon. One reason for
Hezbollah's strong negotiating position is that the movement is the only party
still heavily armed since the 1975-1990 civil war.
Blank pages in protest of lack of decision making
The newspaper al-Nahar, the country's oldest, protests that five months after
the parliamentary elections, the political parties have failed to form a new
government. The magazine is printed with eight blank pages and the internet
edition is published without links. The editor-in-chief explains that the
concern expressed in this way is about, among other things, that aid pledges
from an international conference (see April 6) are not
translated into measures, such as investments in infrastructure. Sopberg,
contaminated tap water and recurring power outages testify to the needs.
Provocative change of street name
Martyr Mustafa Badr al-Din's street in the Beirut district of al-Ghubayri is
named after a former Hezbollah commander. The name raises bad blood: The
Hezbollah commander, who is no longer alive, is believed to have been the one
who planned the murder of Sunni Muslim veteran politician Rafiq al-Hariri in
2005 and the street leads to a hospital bearing the name of the murder victim.
The Hezbollah Shi movement refuses to be involved in the attack that claimed
another 21 people's lives, but the change of name on the street has taken place
at the same time as the end is approached in a trial with UN support for four
suspects. Rafiq al-Hariri's son Saad is prime minister today and the government
is demanding that the sign be removed.
The US withdraws support for refugees
Concern is growing with Palestinian refugees since President Trump decided to
withdraw US support for the UN organization UNRWA, which provides health care
and education to Palestinian refugees. The United States has been UNRWA's
largest single donor country and accounted for nearly a third of the budget. In
Lebanon, where there are at least 174,000 Palestinian refugees, UNRWA operates
27 health centers and 66 schools.
Armored vehicles are promoted to environmental enhancers
Ten old armored vehicles will be lowered to the bottom of the ocean in order
to create new underwater environments. The idea is that they will serve as
reefs, reports AFP. The initiative has been taken by an environmental
organization in the city of Saida, which hopes they will soon be covered by
seagrass and attract marine organisms, eventually also divers. Lebanon has 20
miles of coastline to the Mediterranean, but lack of garbage disposal causes
large piles of garbage to damage the beaches. The garbage also contributes to
domestic political tensions.
Homebound on the way to Syria
About Syrian 850 refugees return home. The departure is a recurring feature
of a repatriation, a return, organized by the governments of Lebanon and Syria.
The Hezbollah movement is one of the driving forces. Concerns about the security
of the refugees are being voiced by human rights organizations, which also
question whether everyone is going home voluntarily. Russia, the Syrian regime's
allies, has proposed setting up working groups in both Lebanon and Jordan, which
have received over one million Syrian refugees each during the war years.
Anger against decrees giving citizenship
A decree from President Aoun that was kept secret provokes outrage. The
decision, signed on May 11, granted dozens of people Lebanese citizenship.
According to leaks to the media, Syrian businessmen with ties to the Assad
regime are among those receiving a fast track to citizenship. The presidential
office confirms the decision itself, but says that the persons should be
examined by security officers. When the list is released a few days later, it
turns out that one of the most surprising names is one of Iraq's leading
politicians: Iyad Allawi.
Doctors, Ministers and Parliamentarians
Inaya Izz al-Din (Ezzeddine) becomes the first Shiite woman in parliament,
notes French Le Monde. She is a doctor, owns and runs a laboratory company, and
is selected on a joint list for the two Shiite groups Hezbollah and Amal. In an
interview, she highlights women's rights and measures against corruption as
targets. She is already a minister and is mentioned as a possible name even in
the next government.
Hariri forms government again
24th of May
President Michel Aoun has commissioned Saad al-Hariri to form a new
government. Hariri has been approved as a government by the parliament, who has
also elected Nabih Berri as president.
Sanctions against Hezbollah's leadership
Hezbollah's strong election results mean that the Shiite movement is
strengthening its ability to block political demands for the dissolution of its
armed branch. The United States and six states on the Arabian Peninsula that
oppose Hezbollah's cooperation with Iran, including in the battlefield in Syria,
are now facing sanctions against five people in Hezbollah's leadership. Hassan
Nasrallah is one of the leaders accused of supporting terrorism. At the same
time, the Gulf states are imposing sanctions on nine other Hezbollah
representatives who are already on the US sanctions list. The sanctions block
people's access to international financial systems.
The election a success for Hezbollah
The Shiite Hezbollah Movement Announces Victory in Parliamentary Election ;
both Hezbollah and its ally Amal have taken on more mandates than in the last
election. The Free Patriotic Movement (Aoun Alliance) has also progressed. The
Future Movement, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's party, has lost a third of its
mandate, but the constitution says that the post of head of government should go
to a Sunni Muslim and, despite the election results, Hariri is expected to get
the bid to form a new government.
Lower voter turnout with new system
Parliamentary elections are conducted, with a new electoral system. The
turnout is lower than last time: 49.2 percent against 54 percent in 2009. In
order to vote, you must be at least 21 years old, in order to be able to run for
at least 25 years. Even with the new system, the votes are distributed according
to the population's religious composition in each constituency, but the changes
encourage alliances across traditional boundaries between the peoples.
Hezbollah withdrawn in dispute over arms exports
The Shiite Hezbollah movement is accused of being an intermediary in arms
deliveries from Iran to the Western Saharan liberation movement Polisario.
Morocco, which controls Western Sahara, takes home its Iranian ambassador in
protest and demands that a diplomat from Iran leave Morocco. Hezbollah rejects
accusations of involvement in arming Western Sahara.
Few foreign voters vote
Parliamentary elections start with foreign vote on Lebanese missions in 39
countries. Lebanese abroad can participate, for the first time. 12,611 people in
the Middle East who have registered are the first to go to the polls. But only
82,900 foreign voters have registered in total, despite the fact that over one
million Lebanese outside their home country are believed to have citizenship,
and about two-thirds of them are eligible to participate. In Lebanon, the
constituency consists of 3.7 million citizens. In the next election, 2022, six
of the 128 seats in the parliament will be folded for voter support from foreign
Lebanese, then interest is expected to increase.
Electoral movement with new system and new alliances
Valyra prevails before the parliamentary elections on May 6, the first in
almost a decade and the first in accordance with a new electoral law. The 128
parliamentarians elected in 2009 have repeatedly been allowed to extend their
mandate without elections. Currently, 917 candidates are on 77 national lists.
Majority elections are replaced by a proportional system, with elements of
personal choice, and new alliances are formed because the outcome of the
election is more uncertain with the new election system. According to AFP,
Hezbollah is an exception; the Shi movement seems to have confidence in its own
popularity. The electoral movement, according to media on site, thoughts of
Big response at donor meeting
41 countries and organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank promise
various forms of support for Lebanon: according to the French government,
investments of $ 10 billion over the course of four years, with an increase to $
23 billion over a twelve-year period, with both donations and loan pledges
included. Since the Syrian war broke out in 2011, and radically affected the
neighboring country, the Lebanese budget deficit has more than doubled.
Budget approved for donor meeting
Parliament adopts a budget for 2018 with a deficit of $ 4.8 billion. AFP
describes Lebanon as the world's third most indebted country and France will
host an international donor conference on April 6. One of the reasons for the
strained economy is the war in Syria, which has caused more than one million
refugees to go to Lebanon. Growth has dropped from 9 percent in 2010 to just 1.1
percent on average over the past three years.
France supports the government army
France gives Lebanon credit of EUR 400 million to cover government spending.
In the past, the French government has promised to provide equipment to protect
More women are candidates
Ahead of the May 6 parliamentary elections in which 128 seats are at stake,
976 people have announced they want to run, state government reports the day
after the registration period expired. 111 of the candidates are women, it is
described as a record. In this year's election, a new electoral law is applied
for the first time, which means, among other things, to follow a proportional
system and reduce the number of electoral districts to 15. However, with the new
law, however, within each electoral district, the mandate will be distributed
with regard to the residents' religious affiliation.. The lists where the
candidates are presented must be ready by March 26.
Disgusted with exploration at sea
Lebanon signs the first agreements that provide clear signs for disputed oil
and gas exploration in the Mediterranean. According to the plans, French Total,
Italian ENI and Russian Novatek will be allowed to prospect in two fields.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has argued that one field belongs to
Israel and that the decision is a provocation.
Aggravated sweeping crisis following storms
After a winter storm, large quantities of garbage have been washed up on
beaches on the Mediterranean, and fishermen are getting garbage in the nets. A
cleaning effort has been ordered by the government, reports the Daily Star
newspaper. But the basic problem remains: the tips are growing, not least along
the coast, and there is no working recovery.
Refugees die in blizzard
At least 15 Syrians succumb to a blizzard while trying to flee to Lebanon via
mountain ranges along the border. Three children and several women lost their
lives, according to Lebanese authorities. The group is believed to have been
abandoned by refugee smugglers and two suspects have been arrested. In 2015,
Lebanon, which still houses nearly a million Syrians, imposed restrictions on