Education Reform in Lebanon: Nationalism Versus Social Justice As Means for Building Social Cohesion

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: 502
Oral Presentation
Maha SHUAYB , Centre for Lebanese Studies, Lebanon
The paper will examine education policies in Lebanon post the civil war period (1989) up to 2010. This period witnessed two education reforms: 1995 and 2010. The main priority for these two reforms was building a sustainable peace and cohesion amongst the various sectarian groups. A nationalistic citizenship education was proposed as a means for building social cohesion in 1995 reform. The importance of social justice as a means for promoting cohesion in Lebanon was overlooked. Twenty years later, this approach proved to be of limited effect as sectarian fractions in Lebanon continued to grow while school drop-out rates soared particularly amongst disadvantaged groups.  In 2010, a new education strategy was developed. Promoting Lebanese nationalism again occupied the priority. However, access to education featured too in this strategy. My analysis will focus on the current understanding of equity and equality of education in this new reform plan and its consequences on the disadvantaged and marginalised groups in Lebanon and consequently on the social cohesion of Lebanon.  In the paper, I criticise the neo-liberal and distributive notion of social justice which characterises the new education strategy in Lebanon and argues for a recognitive concept of social justice.