The secondary cycle of education is divided into two major fields of study: general education and technical education. The general field consists of three years and is known as the general baccalaureate. Students have to pass a comprehensive official examination in order to be offered that certificate. The first year is considered as common year, offering the majority of the necessary disciplines that help students choose what may suit them in the following classes. In the second year, there are two options (humanities and sciences) available to students. In addition to these two options, there are four other choices starting in the third year (literature and humanities, sociology and economy, general sciences, and life sciences).
The number of weekly periods are 35 for all 3 secondary years and options, with 7 periods a day and a minimum of 50 minutes each. However, in the second and third years where students branch off into different options, the studied materials differ in emphasis according to the option students choose to study. The periods of instruction are divided into three modules for all three secondary years. There is a great emphasis on teaching languages (2 to 6 hours a week depending on three important elements: the module, the school year, and students' option). Also the same is true for all other topics of study such as, mathematics, all types of sciences, sociology, economy, management, civilization, civics, history, geography, physical education, arts, and information technology.
The technical field of education comprises the initial formation and continues to the technical and professional years. It is known by two diplomas: first, the technical baccalaureate, which permits students to practice the profession they studied; second, the professional certificate of a master permitting students to attain the work market. The secondary technical cycle consists of three years, and the brevet certificate is a necessary condition to attain this cycle. There are three domains in this cycle: the services, such as finance, commerce, management, tourism, information, hotels, health; agriculture; and industry.
The first year is common to all choices in the services sector, and diversification starts in the second year. With regard to agriculture and industry, diversification takes place in the first year. The total scholastic periods for the services sector varies between 2,800 and 3,000 periods, which constitute an average of 950 periods per year. Also, the total periods concerning the agriculture or industry varies between 3,000 and 3,300 periods, which is the equivalent of 1,050 periods per year. The periods are distributed throughout 30 effective weeks per year (without counting the holidays). There are 35 periods per week, with a minimum of 50 minutes each.
The periods of instruction in all specialties are divided into four modules. The first module consists of teaching general materials, such as Arabic language, first and second foreign languages, mathematics, sciences, and sociology (40 to 50 percent in the first year and 35 to 40 percent in the second and third years). The second module is a specialty domain and consists of teaching specialty materials as well as sciences that are associated with one's specialty (45 to 50 percent in the first year and 55 to 60 percent in the second and third years). The third module concerns sports and various other activities (10 percent in the first year and only 5 percent in the second and third years). The fourth module is reserved for field studies and practice/hands on experiences (35 to 40 percent in the first year and 40 to 45 percent in the second and third years).
Students who succeed in three modules of this technical cycle are permitted to take the official examinations for the technical or professional baccalaureate certificate. The structures of this new model, especially concerning the superior professional formation, constitute an effective operational approach for continuing the initial development of students. They also consolidate the links between learning and practice in accordance with the needs and characteristics of the work market in Lebanon. The aims of the new curriculum are to prepare students for effective social interaction, academic achievement, and cultural enrichment. The best way to achieve these aims is through the adoption of a thematic, integrated, content-based approach to teaching and learning. The same concepts and skills are taught at various times across the grades but with increasing levels of complexity and sophistication as children get older. Unlike the old curriculum, the new one highlights the role of group work and stresses the need for the creation of an interactive classroom environment.
Many of the objectives and performance tasks included in the new curriculum call for pair and group work in line with the cooperative learning model of classroom interaction. In addition, the new curriculum emphasizes the development of the proper study skills, which helps students to develop into independent learners. In short, the new curriculum moves from a system of education based on rote learning and cramming of information to a system that promotes autonomous learning, thinking skills, and communicative competence.
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