Ministry of Education, Lebanon
Overview of Education System
The education system in Lebanon is centralized with all educational institutes in the public sector regulated by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, indirectly, through regional education bureaus. Regional education bureaus at the center of each province monitor public schools in the province and serve as a liaison between public schools and the directorates of education at the Ministry’s headquarters in Beirut. Decisions are conveyed to the directorates and then circulated to schools. Private schools are organized independently, but with regard to educational decisions, they come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry.
The Educational Center for Research and Development (ECRD) is an autonomous organization that operates under the trusteeship of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The ECRD’s tasks include drafting academic and vocational curricula in all subject areas, including mathematics and science, for the preuniversity education stage, carrying out revisions and modifications as needed, and preparing all means and ways for implementing curricula, including required teaching methodologies.1 The ECRD also carries out educational research, provides training for preuniversity teachers, writes textbooks, and conducts evaluations.
The current structure of the education system in Lebanon divides preuniversity education into three stages:
- Kindergarten—Ages 3 to 5
- Basic education—Elementary level (Cycle 1, Grades 1 to 3; and Cycle 2, Grades 4 to 6) and intermediate level (Cycle 3, Grades 7 to 9)
- Secondary education—Cycle 4, Grades 10 to 12
Schooling in Lebanon is compulsory through Grade 9 (i.e., kindergarten plus the nine years of basic education). Private schools typically provide education at all the preuniversity levels (kindergarten, basic education, and secondary education). Some public schools only provide basic level education, some also include kindergarten, and most provide basic and secondary level education.
Public schools are financed by the Ministry of Education and private schools by student fees. The processes involved in drafting and modifying curricula and providing teacher training mainly are financed by nongovernment funds derived from private companies or international bodies including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, for example.
The Lebanese national curriculum is used in all schools in Lebanon, public and private. If schools wish to implement a foreign curriculum (French, English, or international), they are obligated to follow both the Lebanese and foreign curricula at the same time.
Since Lebanon participated in TIMSS 2003, no modifications have been made to the mathematics and science curriculum. Presently, however, the curricula for Cycles 1 and 2 in basic education are being reviewed by the ECRD. TIMSS 2003 and TIMSS 2007 results, among others, will be taken into consideration as the mathematics and science curricula for the eighth grade undergo revision.
Languages of Instruction
The teaching of mathematics and science in public and private schools is conducted in Arabic throughout the first and second cycles of basic education, and also may be taught in a foreign language (French or English). In the third cycle, teaching is conducted in a foreign language (French or English).