BEIRUT: The head of the Lebanese University, Adnan Sayyed Hussein, called Saturday for a one-day strike next week, after the Cabinet failed to endorse long-standing demands of the educational institution.
Sayyed Hussein called on the university employees to strike Monday to protest against “the persistent official negligence [of the university] and in defense of the university’s fate.”
Sayyed Hussein said the strike comes in line “with the attempt to hold back the academic role of the university’s contract teachers and obstruct the university’s council by various governments for the last 10 years.”
Lebanese University professors have called for appointing deans to the university’s council and for meeting the long-standing demand of contract teachers to become full-timers.
Acting deans have been serving on the council since 2004, stripping the body of its power and giving authority instead to the LU president and the education minister.
The government is trying to achieve sectarian balance before making the appointments.
Unlike full-timers, contract professors are paid their salaries once every two years and do not have the right to enroll in the National Social Security Fund. The professors hold doctorates and have been teaching at LU for years.
Though they were not on the agenda, the LU demands were discussed during the Cabinet’s Friday session, but a political feud over the matter prevented it from endorsing the university’s demands.
Media reports said that Education Minister Elias Bou Saab wanted the Cabinet to approve the appointments and improve the status of contract teachers while Prime Minister Tammam Salam called for approving the appointments but leaving the other topic for further discussion.
The Future Movement ministers objected that 300 names of contract teachers were added to the list at the final moment, the reports said.
Bou Saab said during an educational event Saturday that politics was affecting the educational system in Lebanon and promised to continue to pushing to meet the LU teachers' demands.
“Yes, politics have obstructed the educational institutions and Lebanese University, it also affected the salary scale,” he said. “Yesterday, we lost a chance to turn contract professors into full-timers and to appoint deans for the university, but we will not become desperate and we will insist on reform in the educational sector.”