Constitutional & Legal Foundations
The Lebanese constitution, which was written under the French mandate, has not changed with regard to guaranteeing freedom of teaching and education in Lebanon, as long as educational institutions do not transgress upon public order and are not disrespectful of any religion. Therefore, any qualified organization or individual can establish an educational institution, provided that they adhere to the general guidelines concerning education decreed by the government and their curriculum does not incite religious bias. These guidelines are usually promulgated by ministerial decrees without parliamentary approval.
The Ministry of Education for Youth and Sport rulings governing primary and secondary education as well as the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education rulings governing post secondary education (decrees 7001-7004 of October 1946, modified by decrees in January 1968 and November 1971, as well as the 1994 educational reform and the 1995 new framework for education in Lebanon) express the aims of public education in Lebanon as follows:
- Primary education in Lebanon aims at providing children with needed basic skills to develop their moral, intellectual, and physical character as well as to assist them in assuming the responsibilities of citizenship.
- Intermediate education aims at helping students to discover their interests and potentialities as well as to guide them toward a branch of knowledge or vocation that may be compatible with their interests and potentials.
- Secondary education aims at providing training to a select group of students for advanced study at the university level or for subprofessional positions requiring a certain amount of mental development.
- The new reforms of the 1990s (projets de restructuration du system educatif) have aimed at consolidating the links between the pre-university teaching and higher education and at realizing an equilibrium between general education and technical or professional education.
These reforms set by the National Center for Educational Research and Development and approved by the Council of Ministers in August 1994 seem to have modernized the Lebanese educational system in accordance with the world's progressive education and technology. In addition, these reforms established in clear terms the principles and guidelines for new curricula, which draw on known international and local experiences. They also limit the different pillars possible for educational formation, the relationship between general education and technical or professional education, as well as that relationship between all forms and levels of education and the work market or the needs and aspirations of the Lebanese society. For instance, teaching two foreign languages was one of the established principles. The emphasis was on creating a citizen who is proficient in at least one foreign language in order to promote openness to and interaction with other cultures. Thus, teaching the first foreign language starts at the beginning of schooling, and the second starts in the seventh grade. The major guidelines underlying the language curriculum are: language learning is learning to communicate; language varies; learning a new language is becoming familiar with a new culture; language learning is most effective when it takes place through meaningful, interactive tasks; and language skills are interdependent.
However, after three years of implementing the new curricula, the Lebanese Minister of Education for Youth and Sport (Mr. Abdel-Rahim Mourad) appeared on the Lebanese Broadcasting Company International (LBCI) on January 18, 2001, and complained about some of the gaps that resulted from implementing these new curricula. It was very difficult for that ministry to fund the most up-to-date technologies to carry out the new educational responsibilities. Also, there was a lack in human resources, for materials in the new curricula have almost doubled and there are not enough teachers to train them for the new responsibilities.
Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceLebanon - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education