BEIRUT: “Brevet exams will not be postponed pass June 12,” announced Education Minister Elias Bou Saab Friday, after a meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
The meeting with the speaker took place a six days before the set date for 9th grade official exams, after they were postponed last week.
Bou Saab called on lawmakers and political blocs to resolve the salary scale dispute before parliament’s legislative session Tuesday, stressing the need to shoulder responsibility over the issue.
“The remaining differences are not large,” said Bou Saab, hoping that the upcoming legislative session will see a resolution. According to the minister, the proposed wage hike for public servants is the last remaining issue for Parliament to resolve.
Bou Saab said that as a minister it is his right to hold exams on time, adding that he will rely on all measures available. “We may take unprecedented measures to ensure that exams take place on time,” said the minister, clarifying that the ministry could not stall any longer.
The minister also directed his apologies to the teachers, students and families affected, stating that approximately 100,000 families are directly concerned with the fate of official exams.
Earlier this week, Bou Saab announced that Brevet exams would be postponed from June 7 to June 12, while Baccalaureate exams would be postponed from June 12 to June 16, and from June 22 to June 27.
Parliament’s session last week failed to reach a consensus even after thousands of public school teachers and civil servants rallied in Beirut to urge lawmakers to pass the bill. The lack of quorum forced Berri to continue the debate in a session scheduled for June 10.
The boycotting MPs said they would only attend parliamentary sessions regarding matters of high interest, prompting Bou Saab to urge all blocs to consider the salary scale a matter of “national interest,” in light of the possible consequences on schools.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah Chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah urged lawmakers to attend the Parliament session scheduled next week to discuss and approve the salary scale to put an end to the ordeal.
“The political class has placed civil servants and teachers in confrontation with the students and their parents while the state remained idle,” Nasrallah said during a televised speech.
“So it’s either the teachers give up their rightful demands for the sake of the students or the students give up their future for their teachers ... this is not right,” he said.
“Lawmakers of various blocs should take an ethical and humanitarian stand ... attend the Parliament session to settle the issue, be fair to the teachers and safeguard the official exams.”