A MESSAGE FROM THE ADMINISTRATION
Beirut, on March 28, 2018
We wish you all a Happy Easter and may Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead and defeated sin and hell, help all Lebanese people unite in what is best for them and save their country from the suffering it is facing on all levels.
While we are sending you the third and final tuition fee for the current 2017-2018 academic year, we are required to inform you about the current status of the educational family in Lebanon, especially in private schools and in free schools that are partially funded by the government.
We have tried to complete the current academic year, and we will continue trying to do so until the end, if God willing and with your support, which is essential to succeed in this difficult mission that is about to turn into an impossible mission.
The government decided last summer to grant the new salary scale for employees of the public sector as well as teachers of private schools in the addition to 6 exceptional steps for teachers. However, the government that worked for four years and a half on a study to financially cover this scale for employees of the public sector has left schools and parents to deal with this issue on their own and still has not provided any help to cover expenses that it has imposed on them even though they are unable to cover them on their own.
Before this dangerous situation, which has dire consequences, the church’s competent authorities worked with senior officials in schools from all religions in every region in Lebanon, and contacted decision-makers in the government, demanding parents’ right to receive help from their government to educate their children. This is their legitimate right as they are paying taxes like all other Lebanese people, and this is applied in all respectful countries, mainly France, whose legislations have been frequently used in Lebanon.
The government has so far confirmed its duties towards helping you educate your children, but officials have insisted at the same time that they do not have necessary funds to execute this duty.
As the academic year progresses without school directors’ success in fixing the budget for the current academic year, private schools in Lebanon have issued the decision of working with parents to cover the salary scale through “calculated” increases for this year and requested that the government covers the 6 steps that it granted for teachers. We have submitted our budgets for the current year and its requirements on this basis. We have presented these budgets to parents committees by virtue of the applicable law stipulating that the salaries of teachers and requirements of affiliated funds constitute 65% of the value of the budget and that the remaining expenses constitute 35% of this budget.
In this difficult situation that many parents are going through, the Archdiocese, represented by Archbishop of Beirut, Msgr. Boulos Matar, has decided to waive 5% collected for school owners (from the 35%) and another 5% allocated for the development of the school, so that part of it can be used to support general tuition fees and another part of it can be used to help the most needy students. This decision has been made with the hope that it will ensure that all our students remain in school during these difficult circumstances.
It is also important to draw your attention to the fact that we have repeatedly asked teachers not to strike, and they have often been responsive, in order to preserve the academic year and the rights of students. We have also worked and will continue working with you to secure their rights for they, too, are our collaborators in the blessed educational process. We were surprised to see that a large number of parents did not pay their children’s tuition fees. We have so far provided the requirements of the first six months of the current academic year using the paid tuition fees along with a few loans. But we find ourselves helpless in providing the requirements of the remaining six months of the current year as well as providing some funds for necessary reparations and funds for compensations in case a teacher is dismissed for lack of need or for reaching retirement age. We ask that each family contacts the school administration at the beginning of the third semester of the year, meaning directly after the Easter vacation, to settle the remaining payments for the school.
We are forced to make such encounters to complete the entire academic year and prepare for the upcoming academic year that is getting closer. Meanwhile, we continue to renew the registration of your children for the upcoming year because this registration is essential to reserve their spots in the school and to specify our need in teachers and administrators required for this mission. However, the registration of students will not be guaranteed for next year except after paying in full the current year’s tuition fees.
We will report to you every effort done so that the government provides help in paying tuition fees, hoping that we find the opportunity to work with the new parliament on issuing laws that meet this rightful demand. The government is responsible for its people and the education of its children in any private or public school. Lebanon is facing nowadays conditions that it has never experienced before and has a very weak economy. We need to work together in these circumstances and fight together for the future of our children, which is the main requirement for the future of the country. It is difficult for us to close any private school, God forbid, due to this major crisis, as we fear that the entire educational system in Lebanon collapses if the government does not explicitly fulfil its duties in this field. But we remain, together, hopeful that our country that has survived a lot in its history will survive this situation with the help of its people.
We wish you a happy Easter and may this Holiday bring love and peace for all the country and the region.
On behalf of Archbishop of Beirut Msgr. Boulos Matar
Father Gabriel Tabet