It has been almost a month now since the state-run Lebanese University issued its decision that written exams will be done inside the classes at all LU branches and faculties.
In the middle of a global pandemic, almost every other university not only in Lebanon but around the world decided to abstain from conducting exams in classes. Instead, students sit their exams online or are evaluated based on their homework and presentations.
However, LU’s administration felt otherwise, promising strict health measures and precautions.
The students revolted, calling them the ‘death exams. They voiced out their concerns and anger several times through various hashtags like #death_exams. They even appealed to the Education Minister at no avail.
The exams happened anyway. Students were eventually forced to sit their exams in class. It was that or losing their year of education.
However, sitting their exams under such stressful conditions would certainly affect their performance.
Adding to that, and according to many controversial recounts, some faculties don’t seem to be taking seriously the necessary health measures and precautions.
On Wednesday, there was a confirmed case of coronavirus in the first branch of the Faculty of Information.
Some of the students’ classmates attested to the fact that she had COVID-19 symptoms, including fever.
The infected student took the PCR test and came to uni on Wednesday to take the exams, only to inform the management the same afternoon that her test results came positive.
In response, the Minister of Education announced that the building will be sterilized and that those who interacted with the infected student will be tested before returning to the university.
From his side, the university president, Fouad Ayoub, is still insisting on carrying on with the written exams in all branches of the university.
LU students are now asking for help. Who keeps them safe? And who will protect them from the administration’s unfair decision?
It is a fact that, in the Lebanese mindset, education is imperative. Parents work hard all their lives to ensure it to their kids. It isn’t rare even that some sell everything they own to educate their children.
That mindset is as anchored in the management of academic institutions and their decision-makers. That has made education in Lebanon stand out as most remarkable.
However, at this stage and under these conditions, even that “top priority” becomes futile when the youth we want so obsessively educate are at high risk because of that.