Seven weeks have passed since the beginning of the strike set forth by the full-time professors of the Lebanese University. While their peaceful stand-up continues, 80,000 Lebanese students of the university's 16 faculties are paying the price of this heavy burden; their education on hold.
The professors are protesting against potential cuts to both their wages and the budget of the only public institution for higher learning in the country.
Despite all ongoing pressure and mediations, they are refusing to end their strike unless the government guarantees their rights and take proper actions to solve this problem.
Last week, the executive committee of the full-time professors took a decision to temporarily suspend the strike. This urged Yussef Al Daher, the head of the Lebanese University Full-Time Professors' executive committee, to resign from his position as he opposed this decision.
However, after a high demand for his return and due to the important stage the strike has reached, Daher took back his resignation.
Hence, due to the large numbers of opposers, the assembly of the league’s representative council voted last Saturday to continue pressuring the government for tangible assurances; hence the extension of the strike.
"This strike will help and protect the Lebanese University till 10 years from now," said Youssef Al Daher.
This is not the first time the professors head for a strike. Just last year they protested demanding an increase in their salary. However, last year's strike ended after only 3-weeks.
In all of this chaos, the students are the only victims as their academic year and future are on the verge of collapsing.
"We are not against the doctors' rights, but we too have rights," said Hadi Chahrour, a law student.
On the other side, many students are urging the professors to continue their strike till they get their full rights.
The professors are demanding their rights, affirming their eligibility to:
- Continue the academic year without any pressure,
- Keep the university's budget the same without any amendment,
- Enhance the university's scientific research and laboratories.
Moreover, some of the students have been also protesting, on the university campus of Hadath, since mid-May!
On the other hand, many students are against the strike for various reasons. Many opportunities are going to be lost due to this crisis, including a year of their educational life journey.
Living in wait, they are missing the opportunity to take summer jobs, or do internships, or travel, or to even take advantage of the summer season to relax after a tiring year.
It is to note that a good number of these students need to work hard during summer so that they can afford the extra costs required to enroll the following year, as well as to ease the financial burden on their parents. Unfortunately, they seem they have lost that much-needed possibility as well, and their frustrations are hard to see.
The Lebanese University is not just any other university. Since 1951, it has been serving the diverse social groups and providing a high-level education, providing excellent levels of education. In fact, many of its students are shinning in Lebanon and abroad.
This is a critical situation that should be the Lebanese State's first priority. It involves the whole Lebanese society as 80, 000 students and their families are affected.
The Public Sector is as important as the Private Sector in the progress of a country. Sacrificing it for the benefit of the Private one impacts significantly the whole.