Marwan Hamadeh speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Caretaker Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh said his efforts to revive an education sector shoddily reconstituted after the Civil War (1975-90) have been hampered by entrenched political interests and the failures of his predecessor.TEACHERS' GRIEVANCESBefore the Cabinet entered caretaker status in May, Hamadeh had called for a special session to address education-related issues, including a failure to implement an increase in salaries for teachers mandated by the 2017 salary scale law.Many public and private schools have refused to increase teachers' wages, stagnant since 1997, so Hamadeh proposed implementing a six-grade increase over three years to lower the pressure of the salary hike on schools and families.Hamadeh said Bou Saab had stuffed the ministry with employees close to him and his party, and had introduced "thousands [of professors]" into the public Lebanese University, "many of whom did not have confirmed doctorates".He blamed Bou Saab's staffing of the Education Ministry on a row between the Progressive Socialist Party and the FPM earlier this year that was sparked by Hamadeh's reassignment of Hilda Khoury, an employee appointed by Bou Saab, to head the official exams department.Hamadeh said he did not regret his move.The fact that over a million Syrian students have passed through Lebanon's education system over the past seven years has created a need to refurbish schools and train better teachers in accordance with "modern systems".Funding for Palestinian students through UNRWA was less certain, Hamadeh said, with only three or four months' worth secured.
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