Grade 12 students held a sit-in on Wednesday at the Education Ministry in Beirut's UNESCO area to demand the correction of their official exams as the standoff between the Syndicate Coordination Committee and politicians threatens to sabotage their academic year.
“We refuse to allow anyone to correct our exams but our teachers,” the students said.
The angered students vowed that their sit-in will not be the last, warning that the next protest will be held outside the Grand Serail at the Riad al-Solh Square.
The SCC’s suspension of the exams correction had left Grade 12 students in disarray as they are awaiting the results to enroll in university while Grade 9 students, who underwent the Brevet exams, need to pass their tests in order to enter the secondary school.
Head of Public Secondary School Education Teachers Association Hanna Gharib said during the students' protest that politicians failed to create divisions between the teachers and students and their parents.
“We will challenge the situation with the parents, teachers, students, employees and contract workers by our side,” he stressed.
Gharib warned that the SCC is ready to form the widest syndicate coalition to press the rights of public employees.
Speaker Nabih Berri has decided to keep legislative sessions on the wage scale open-ended after lawmakers failed to approve the raise.
Parliamentary blocs have expressed their support for the employees' rights but have warned that Lebanon's ailing economy would suffer if the total funding was not reduced from LL2.8 trillion ($1.9 billion) to LL1.8 trillion ($1.2 billion).
They have also disagreed on how to raise taxes to fund the scale over fears of inflation and its affect on the poor.
Their differences have been exacerbated by the boycott of the March 14 alliance's MPs of the sessions aimed at discussing the draft-law under the excuse that parliament should not legislate in the absence of a president.
For his part, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab expressed regret over the ongoing new pay hike crisis.
He blamed politicians for the “unfortunate situation” that the country, the students and the teachers are facing.
Bou Saab warned that a new school year is at risk.
Bou Saab considered that providing students with statements that they passed their official exams degrades the education in Lebanon.
“If this was the only solution then they should choose another education minister,” he said.
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