BEIRUT: The Union Coordination Committee (UCC) might reconsider the correction of official exams, one of its leaders told The Daily Star Sunday, saying that the union acts in accordance with what is best for the students.
"We work in education and they work in politics, we are the ones who care about the future of our students,” Nehmeh Mahfoud, head of the Association of Private School Teachers, told The Daily Star.
The union leader said they were aware that the education minister was using issuing passing certificates as a pressure card against the UCC, but “with the issuance of the certificates, the UCC is reconsidering what is best for the students,” and “might consider the correction of official exams.”
Mahfoud said that the UCC will hold General Assembly meetings Monday and Tuesday, in which a decision will be made regarding the correction of the exams for Grade 9 and Grade 12.
“If the UCC decides to correct, and the minister refuses, let him take responsibility for ruining the students’ academic future,” said Mahfoud.
Education Minister Elias Bou Saab decided Saturday to issue passing certificates to thousands of students who took official exams, after efforts failed to convince teachers to back down on their boycott of correcting the tests.
Bou Saab said that there is a precedent to issuing passing certificates and that Speaker Nabih Berri would adopt the decision to issue passing certificates in Parliament on the basis of a similar decision issued during the civil war in 1987 and 1988.
Berri had held talks Saturday morning with Future MP Bahia Hariri, a former education minister and the head of Parliament’s Education Committee, on the issue of the salary scale, the central dispute between the teachers and the government.
“I have clarified to the UCC that the problem with passing the salary scale was merely political, something that is disrupting the whole country and had nothing to do with the draft law itself,” Bou Saab said.
The UCC opposed issuing passing certificates to students who took official exams, saying that “there is not fairness or achievement when the best student and the worst are matched.”
“The solution does not come by running away from the core problem and adding another problem like the issuance of passing certificates,” said Mahfoud in a statement Saturday.
“We will not allow lawmakers to extend Parliament’s mandate before resolving the salary scale,” he added.
The UCC leader said that the union will definitely confront plans to extend Parliament’s mandate, not disclosing the specific method in which it will do so.
“Parliament had already extended its mandate once without producing anything new, so if they convene in a session to extend their mandate, without resolving the salary scale, we will not let them exit the premise before they do so,” warned Mahfoud.