Majida refuses to return to public school education before the Ministry of Education fulfills its promises to them to improve their salaries, whose value has eroded with the collapse of the lira against the dollar, and for the donors to abide by their duties towards them, because they educate non-Lebanese students.
Magda is a teacher at the Hermel (Bekaa) Intermediate Public School in northeastern Lebanon, where a video clip of her schoolmates was circulated preventing refugee students of Syrian nationality from entering the school because of the work strike.
Education for non-Lebanese stopped
As a result of teachers in public schools announcing a general and comprehensive strike until their living conditions improve, the Minister of Education responded to the teachers’ step by announcing the cessation of afternoon education for non-Lebanese.
The Director General of the Ministry said, “It is not permissible for our children not to learn, and for the children of others to learn. Therefore, we announce the cessation of lessons in afternoon schools for non-Lebanese until a solution to the issue of education before noon is reached.”
We will not back down from our decision
Majeda told Al Arabiya.net: “As long as our children do not go to school, there is no education for the Syrian students. This is a decision we made and we will not back down from it before improving our salaries and giving us a transportation allowance, because we no longer have the ability even to fill our cars with fuel to go to school due to the high prices.” .
She also added, “How can I go to school during the afternoon shift and give lessons to Syrian refugees while my children are staying at home because of the strike? Where is the justice in that?”
From a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon – iStock
We blamed the donors
The teacher, Magda, expressed her admonition to the United Nations and donors, because they fund the education of Syrian students at the expense of the Lebanese.
She said, “Why do they not treat Lebanese students equally with Syrian refugees? Why do they not pay us our right to educate non-Lebanese students? We can no longer bear it. Our living conditions are getting worse, and we have no choice but to resort to striking so that our voice may reach those concerned in the Ministry of Education and donors.” .
The decision of Magda and her fellow professors in various Lebanese regions reflected negatively on Alaa, a Syrian refugee who fled the war in his country in 2011 to settle in a village in the northern Bekaa.
I keep sending my son to school
He told Al-Arabiya.net: “He keeps sending his son to public school every day, although the afternoon shift is not suitable for any student in general, but we have no right to object.”
He added, “I was very happy about bringing my son to school after many attempts with the school administration due to overcrowding, but our joy was not complete, and it seems that the teachers’ strike will continue indefinitely.”
Alaa hopes to end the strike after the teachers’ demands are met, because his son longs to go back to school.
Syrian children in Lebanon – iStock
It was resolved equally between the Lebanese and the Syrians
In the context, sources from the Ministry of Education in Lebanon confirmed to Al-Arabiya.net, “We are communicating with international donors in order to find a solution that is ‘equal’ between Lebanese students and Syrian refugees, and at the same time treats teachers fairly.”
She explained, “The decision to stop the education of the Syrian refugees was not intended to detract from their right to education, but we took it in anticipation of the reactions that the families of Lebanese students might resort to towards the refugees if the teachers’ strike continues, thus depriving their children of education while the Syrian students continue their studies.”
170 thousand Syrian students
Sources from the Ministry of Education in Lebanon revealed, “The official schools in Lebanon host more than 170,000 Syrian refugees, who are registered in about 350 public schools in the evening shift, compared to 235,000 Lebanese students.”
A specific amount for each Syrian child
Human Rights Watch, which deals with human rights issues, indicated in a report last year that “international donors pay Lebanon a set amount for each Syrian refugee child enrolled in school.
The decision of the Ministry of Education in Lebanon to announce the cessation of lessons in afternoon schools for non-Lebanese, preoccupied local and foreign public opinion in terms of children’s right to education.
Syrian opposition coalition
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces called on the Lebanese government to reverse its decision to stop educating refugees in government schools.
In a statement, the coalition condemned the practices that Syrian students in Lebanon are subjected to, which led to the suspension of their education and the deprivation of one of the refugees’ rights stipulated in international laws and covenants.