University students in Lebanon are burdened by the financial crisis
In light of the collapse of the financial system in Lebanon in 2019 and the collapse of the local currency and the rise in fuel prices, many university students are suffering under the burden of obstacles affecting their educational path. Ability to move according to a report produced by the Arab World News Agency.
Most universities are located in major Lebanese cities, particularly the capital Beirut, making it difficult for students living in remote areas such as the south and Mount Lebanon.
Many of these students are forced to seek housing in major cities, or to move around on an almost daily basis, both options in light of the economic crisis sweeping the country.
According to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Lebanon has 36 private universities, while Lebanon University, the country’s only public university, has 19 colleges. Almost 90,000 students study in Lebanese universities.
Zad Samaha (age 19), a law student at Al-Hekma Private University in Beirut, rented a house in the Tayoneh neighborhood ten minutes away with his friends in September at the start of the current academic year. their university.
Samaha told the Arab World News Agency: “My primary residence is in Sidon, and all last year I went by minibuses, or took my father’s car to go to university, but this lifestyle was exhausting.”
He added: “When I go to Beirut at eight in the morning or leave at five in the evening, I face great difficulties because this is the peak time for arrivals and departures, which reflects the delay in attendance. Lectures at the university, late in the evening returning home to where I was. Most days I spend about two hours on the road and under normal circumstances the road time is no more than 40 minutes.
Samaha explained that one of the reasons he moved to live in Beirut was the high cost of transportation. The bus fare from Sidon in Beirut to the Gola area is 100,000 Lebanese pounds (about two dollars), and then he has to take a taxi for 150,000 pounds to reach the university.
As for Yasmin Hamdan (21 years old), a student at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lebanon, she lives in Mount Lebanon in the Alay region, and she made a decision at the beginning of this year’s academic year. She lives in the region after living in Beirut for the entire academic year.
Yasmin said: “I lived in an apartment divided into 3 rooms with two of my university colleagues, each of whom paid $100 a month in rent for his room.”
He added: “When we rented the apartment two years ago, the rent included water charges and electricity generator subscription, but things started changing with the increase in prices and services, so the apartment owner asked us to increase the room rent. Or we have to pay water and electricity bills.
As for 20-year-old Hasan Khalil, he points out that there are many students who prefer to live in university housing or look for mid-priced residential apartments to save time and money.
Khalil, who is studying medicine at Lebanon University, the only public university in Lebanon, said settling into an apartment is better than wasting time on the road commuting between home and university.
He added: “In this case, the student can get a bed in a room and pay $60 a month, if he pays for water and internet services, or rent a bed for $130. Services.”
He pointed out that the problem lies with students who are not working and are still dependent on their families for accommodation and study expenses.
He continued: “In the past, my brothers depended on my father for their expenses because the conditions were acceptable in terms of cost of living. At that time, they were able to provide $300 a month as personal expenses. But now, this amount only covers the rent of the apartment, and some services. Only offers for a few days.” One month only.
However, Mona Sulaiman (age 23) believed that the cost of university housing in private universities is higher compared to public universities.
He told the Arab World News Agency: “We are not only looking for a university that suits our academic ambition, but we also have other things like housing, transport, internet and food, and then academic classes come second.”
Human rights activist Jamal Khanem believed that businessmen who own many private universities may be in their interest to weaken the official Lebanese University.
He told the Arab World News Agency: “The problem of building colleges in the Lebanese regions is caused by many reasons, including the financial need of the university to open new branches, in addition to the mismanagement of sustainable development in the countryside. This has been neglected at the expense of the cities.
He added: “Many private universities, owned by businessmen or religious institutions, are partners with ministers, politicians and representatives, and it may be in their interest to weaken the official Lebanese University in order to open their own educational institutions.”
Khanem pointed out that after 2020, students who have moved to distance education due to the pandemic, many of them, will save on housing and transportation fees.
“The solution is to support university housing facilities and provide them at acceptable rates to students, or contribute to setting up dedicated transport routes for them at an average rate,” he promised. Back to university.”
He added: “If the best solution of building colleges (in remote areas) is not possible, production must resort to alternative solutions.”
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