As a result of its severe financial crisis, the decade-long presence of Syrian refugees, COVID-19 lockdowns, and now an acute fuel shortage, Lebanon is losing its long-held status as the region’s education hub.
The education system, like most other sectors of society, was hard hit by the compounded crises, which the World Bank described as the worst since the mid-nineteenth century.
Lebanon’s population is struggling to survive with limited resources, as the currency has lost nearly 95 percent of its value against major foreign currencies since 2019 and inflation has risen to 281%.
According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, poverty has risen dramatically in the last year, now affecting 74% of the population.
Providing the best education for their children, both at home and abroad, has long been a top priority for Lebanese parents. Due to the high cost of living, they can barely pay their tuition, let alone feed themselves. Many people have lost their jobs, and those who remain are paid in Lebanese pounds.
Lama Tawil, the head of the Union of Parents’ Committees in Private Schools, said that the skyrocketing exchange rates for the US dollar have devalued parents’ salaries, while bank restrictions prevent them from using enough of their savings.
During the summer, the US dollar hit a high of 23,000 Lebanese pounds, before falling to an average of 16,000 LL following the formation of a new Cabinet earlier this month. The US dollar was worth 1,500 LL.
before the country’s crisis began in October 2019. “This made us suffer to secure school fees for this year, in addition to the soaring transportation and stationery costs and the problem of securing gasoline and diesel fuel, which are no longer subsidized,” Tawil told Nokia News.
Parents are in a difficult situation because their salaries are shrinking and school fees are increasing by an average of 40% to 50%, she said, noting that tuition fees now range from 10 million LL to 30 million LL depending on the school’s level.
The cost of transportation ranges from 600,000 to 1. 5 million LL per month, which Tawil describes as “the equivalent of a teacher’s half or full monthly salary.”
The only attempts to alleviate the situation have been exchanging imported books and allowing students to drop their school uniforms… Nokia News: Article Summary