Education is always a topic of great debate in the United States as of late though it seems to particularly focus on the decline of the education system. It goes without saying that better education leads to a brighter future for a country. Similar to the U.S. there is a vast difference between private and public education in Lebanon. Private schools are often incredibly expensive leaving children to attend questionable public schools. In Lebanon, there is also the issue of Palestinian refugees and other children that have little chance of attending school at all due to various restrictions. Two thirds of Palestinian refugees above the age of 15 have not received the Brevet, which is a certificate that is required to enroll in secondary school. Despite all this, Lebanon continues to have one of the highest literacy rates in the Middle East, 75 to 88%. With such vastly different perspectives on education in Lebanon it is difficult to say which is accurate. In the U.S. schools face similar problems, the quality of education one receives sadly often depends on the area you live in and the background you come from making it nearly impossible to change your social class.
One perspective I found in my research is the discussion and problem of the disparity in education between the rich and the poor. In private schools students have the opportunity to focus on several foreign languages which is obviously incredibly beneficial but at the same time creates a huge gap between them and students who don’t have the same opportunities. There is also a large disparity in the access to education in cities and in rural areas. In relation to private schools they have the ability to determine their own curriculum and persuasions. Meaning, certain schools may be pro-western or pro-eastern oriented or reflect certain religious or political affiliations which then reflects on the students. Some feel that this may further divide people of different backgrounds because separating schools by these affiliations simply points out and emphasizes the differences between them.
In the U.S. public schools in poor areas tend to experience issues with funding for books, computers, and teachers. This typically leaves schools struggling with high student to teacher ratios and little individual attention for students. Public schools in Lebanon face similar issues leaving poorer students with a very small chance of passing official exams and therefore enrolling in higher education. Lebanon also has few vocational schools, other than in the capitol, that offer students another option after the mandatory schooling period, age 15. This is however not always enforced due to lack of government facilities and facilities for something like this.
After the civil war in Lebanon the entire country went under a massive reconstruction, including the education system. Despite this modernization there are still many problems that need to be addressed for all students to have equal opportunities and access to a better education and a better future. Education reforms are something that will continue to be discussed because as our world changes so too do the necessities of what we need to learn. This rigid, unchanging system that education seems to have become needs to be something of the past if the future will be any different.