Lebanon News

Beirut students bomb out in Baccalaureate

Students take their official Brevet exams in Hadath, June 12, 2019. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Students in Lebanon’s capital came last in the 2019 Baccalaureate, according to figures published by the Education Ministry Tuesday. Beiruti students ranked lowest in each of the Baccalaureate’s four divisions - economics and sociology, life sciences, general sciences and humanities - achieving an average 72.03 percent pass rate across the board, compared to the national average of 79.2 percent.

“These results are astonishing and we will follow up the statistics soon,” a source at the Center for Educational Research and Development, a government body that aims to modernize and develop education in Lebanon, told The Daily Star.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to speak to the media, added that they had never seen Beirut fall behind all of Lebanon’s other governorates across the board.

Meanwhile, students in Nabatieh stormed ahead, achieving the country’s highest success rate in two of the Baccalaureate’s four divisions: economics and sociology, and life sciences.

Overall, the Nabatieh and Bekaa governorates came out on top, with 82.8 percent and 82.72 percent success rates, respectively.

In economics and sociology, the most popular division, Beirutis averaged a 64.37 percent pass rate.

That compared to Nabatieh’s 76.78 percent.

The second most popular division, life sciences, was also dominated by Nabatieh, with an average pass rate of 88.77 percent.

Beirut, again, came in last with 82.48 percent.

The Bekaa ranked highest in general sciences with a 91.67 percent pass rate, compared to Beirut’s 80.56 percent.

In humanities, Beirut also hit rock bottom at 67.23 percent, while Lebanon’s southern governorate zoomed ahead with 83.01 percent.

Across the country, 8,024 students failed the Baccalaureate.

Of this number, 991 were from Beirut - around 28 percent of those that took the exam.

However, the CERD source urged caution in comparing success rates between divisions.

“Each division has a different curriculum and marking scheme,” the source said, adding that the center had not yet had time to analyze the results from this year’s exams.

The source declined to comment on why Beiruti students had lower pass rates than students in other regions studying in the same division.

Education Minister Akram Chehayeb released the results of the Baccalaureate exams at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, the state-run National News Agency reported.

The exam is obligatory for graduating seniors in grade 12 who wish to enroll in university.

Following the early-morning release of the results, the Internal Security Forces warned against celebratory gunfire.

“The Directorate General of the Internal Security Forces reminds [the public] that shooting on different occasions is a backward and deadly phenomenon that mostly causes casualties,” a statement from the agency said.

Nevertheless, reports emerged of celebratory gunfire during the day, and shots could be heard over an evening news report from Sidon.

The ISF called on residents to send information or footage documenting any incidents of celebratory gunfire so that the appropriate measures could be taken.

The results of the exam, as well as the scores of the Brevet exam administered to students wishing to enter high school, are usually published later in the day.

When Chehayeb decided to release the Brevet results at just after 1 a.m. last month, he said it was done to avoid the “bad habit” of celebratory gunfire.

Celebratory gunfire following the publication of exam results has led to fatalities in recent years.

In June 2017, at least three people were killed across the country following the announcement of Brevet exam results.

The practice is common at weddings, graduations, on New Year’s Eve and at other celebrations, despite being illegal.

Security forces and officials have urged members of the public not to shoot into the air due to the danger of wounding or killing passersby.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 10, 2019, on page 2.




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