BEIRUT: Lebanese University decided Saturday to postpone all exams until June 9, in a bid to pressure the government to meet the demands of the educational institution and its teachers.
“Given our keenness on the interest of teachers and their rightful demands, and the university’s decision to restore all of its powers, we agreed to postpone all exams in all university branches and colleges until Monday June 9,” a statement by the board of deans at Lebanese University said. “The board discussed the university's situation, a result of the negligence of its demands,” it added.
It also called on a large solidarity campaign with the demands of the university.
The decision came days after LU professors said they would hold a strike on June 5-6 to further pressure the government to promote contract lecturers.
The professors had asked the government to assign deans to the university council to replace the acting deans who have been in the post since 2004.
The university argues that the governments’ failure to appoint deans has led the council to lose much of its power, placing LU under the rule of its president and the education minister.
The protesters are also demanding that contract teachers become permanent staff.
Despite holding doctorate degrees and having worked at the university for years, contract professors earn their salaries every two years and are not allowed to enroll in the National Social Security Fund.
Education Minister Elias Bou Saab has said that the issue of appointing deans had been politicized but nonetheless vowed to resolve it and implement reforms during his term.
The government is trying to achieve a sectarian balance in the appointments, and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement has vetoed the 300 or so hoping to become full-time professors.
Lebanon's education sector has also seen a major setback with teachers of public and some private schools boycotting correcting and monitoring official end-of-year examinations in protest of Parliament's failure to approve a draft law to raise their salaries.