For years, private universities across Lebanon have been refusing to get paid for tuition by LBP and rather demand a dollar exchange before making the payment. This is extremely unpleasant and brutal as the exchange rate of dollars in LBP varies in black markets and banks.
To make it simpler, if to say the tuition of an architect student is $30,000, this number is equivalent to 45 million Lebanese pounds (if to say the dollar is a fixed 1,500 LBP).
However, black markets are exchanging dollars at 1,800 LPB per one dollar, so that means students are paying 54 million Lebanese pounds. That is an extra 9 million LBP for absolutely nothing.
It is outrageous, which is why students all over Lebanon announced civil obedience and are refusing to go to college (and even school).
Students are practicing their right to protest by protesting in front of university campuses and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. They have been protesting since the third week of Revolution started.
To all the people these days saying that students benefit more in studying instead of protesting, and it won’t make a difference if they protest, you can take a look at the statement of the University of Saint-Joseph (USJ).
In its official statement, it has just announced that Saint Joseph University will now only accept tuition in Lebanese Pounds due to the harsh economy and the difficulty Lebanese people are dealing with searching for dollars.
The oldest and one of the best Universities in Lebanon, USJ has announced that even though the university used to have two tuition ways of payment, one in dollars and the other in Lebanese pound, it has decided to support Lebanon and its economy by only accepting tuitions in LBP. Students can ask to pay in LBP from the banks contracted with the university.
The Rector of Saint Joseph University in Beirut, Salim Daccache, endorsed the revolution in an early statement that represented the university as a whole. He requested an immediate action that meets the rightful demands of the protesters.
Even though this initiative is worth shedding lights on, it is not enough. The instability and fluctuation of the exchange rate of the Lebanese pound can be worrying.
A Lebanese is finding him/herself stuck between wanting to be able to pay everything in LBP, yet not having enough dollars to assist in exchanging or managing procedures required in dollars.
It is still unsure to most people why the Lebanese Pounds is pegged with the dollar, and if it really is important for the Lebanese Pound to stay stable for decades.