BEIRUT: Education Minister Elias Bou Saab reiterated Wednesday that the official exams would not be graded until Parliament passed the wage hike, calling on political parties to hold education apart from their rivalries.
“Things remain the same: no salary scale and no legislative session to pass it, which is a big essential problem,” Bou Saab said after meeting the Union Coordination Committee in the Education Ministry.
Just before the meeting, the UCC had announced that there would be “no academic year in September without the approval of the salary increase,” during a sit-in at the Education Ministry in Beirut.
The academic year in Lebanon normally begins in the second half of September.
“The deal according to which the exams were conducted stresses that there will be no grading without the UCC,” Bou Saab said, “and that no certificates will provided without their approval.”
He called on political actors to consider the issue from a humanitarian perspective, because disrupting the process affects the future of a whole generation.
Bou Saab highlighted the need to hold the education matters apart from the political strife, calling on all parties to cooperate with Speaker Nabih Berri to find a solution to the dispute.
He called on Berri to put the ranks and salaries scale as the first article in the next parliamentary session’s agenda, saying that the “wrong promises that were given to the education sector are the reason behind the current disruption.”
“There is a political cold war occurring. It is not declared but it is going on,” he added. “The presidential vacuum was projected as a disagreement over legislation.”
Employees at public administrations, institutions and municipalities observed a daylong strike Wednesday.
The UCC was also holding the 24-hour sit-in at the Education Ministry in an effort to add more pressure on politicians to reach an agreement over the long-delayed salary scale adjustment.
The unions pledged to hold a strike every Wednesday until the new wage scale was endorsed.
“We hope teachers and employees will take part in these [strike] actions as long as officials fail to respond to our demands,” Hadi Zalzali said on behalf of the UCC at the protest.