BEIRUT: Palestinian and Syrian students registered at public schools in Lebanon are exempt from paying book fees, Education Minister Hassan Diab told The Daily Star Friday.
The minister said that LL2 billion ($1.3 million) was allocated to primary and elementary students, estimated at about 50 thousand throughout the country.
“The ministry has set the right mechanism to implement the decision. The money will be distributed to public schools for them to provide textbooks for students,” Diab said.
The minister’s remarks come after a child advocacy organization said a decision by the Education Ministry excluded non-Lebanese students from a free textbook distribution program.
A press release issued Thursday by Developmental Action without Borders or Nabaa said that Palestinians were excluded from the program and families have had to purchase textbooks by themselves.
Diab said he notified Cabinet on the need to include Palestinians and Syrian in the program.
“I sent a memo to the Cabinet to include Palestinians and Syrians in the program and it has approved the request,” Diab said.
Parliament recently passed a law stipulating that all public school students up until grade nine will get their textbooks for free.
“The ministry exerted efforts for the Cabinet to adopt such a law, and this is the first academic year in which students will get their textbooks for free in Lebanon,” said the minister.