Never postpone the school year again

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Minister of Education Abbas Al-Halabi confirmed that “my priority is the opening of the school year, and this is the concern that rises above any other concern in order to return students to schools and classes in presence and not from a distance, after two years of the students’ presence in their homes as a result of the epidemic and the conditions that Lebanon has gone through.”

Al-Halabi added in an interview with “Electronic News”: “Therefore, it is time for the students to return to the classroom, because I believe that a third year will pass for them while they are in the state of the previous two years, and it will be a disaster for them, and for education in Lebanon. This is my first concern, which I seek to achieve, and I did, and will not, spare no effort in providing the appropriate conditions for this safe return.”

In addition, he enumerated the most prominent problems facing the school year, saying: “The problems that constitute obstacles to the return of students are known, as there is a problem in securing electricity and heating in the winter, as well as in the price of books and stationery, in the cost of generators, and in taking precautions in order to prevent Corona outbreak in schools. All these matters are headlines, and since the first day I took over the ministry, I have worked on trying to reduce them and their harm to enable the teacher and student to attend school, as well as to enable the school to function as close to normal as possible.”

Al-Halabi revealed that this prompted him to address the external donor agencies to provide funds to cover the expenses of these matters and to give incentives for professors to return as well.

He continued, “I also sought with the government and President Najib Mikati to know the treasury’s ability to bear the burdens related to the educational file,” adding the latter, noting that, “If I had not had concrete matters in hand, I would not have set October 11 as the date for the return of schools, and I will not be able to reveal the details because Some things have been prepared, while others are still being processed.”

Regarding the date of returning to attendance education and the possibility that it will be postponed further, the Minister of Education affirmed, “I have absolutely no intention of postponing the school year again.”

She also pointed out that “the dialogue with the professors is continuing, and they have just demands and I share their entitlement, and we have made a joint violation by announcing the start of registration, and this is a step that was required for the arrival of aid from abroad.”

As for the increase in salaries demanded by the professors, Al-Halabi considered that “their demands are well known, and they have submitted them in letters to me. But they know, as I do, that achieving all demands is impossible. But meeting acceptable demands within the circumstances that surround us is a right for them,” noting that “there is a line of dialogue always open with professors, and my office is also open to them and my hand is extended to them.”

As for securing diesel and gasoline, which poses the most significant challenges for this year, Al-Halabi indicated that “Energy Minister Walid Fayyad does not have much potential to meet us, and we seek to provide funds to purchase these materials from the markets in order to secure the work of schools and educational institutions.”







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