ASIA/LEBANON - Maronite church: salary increase for private school teachers has to be funded by the State

Thursday, 7 September 2017 school   education   middle east   oriental churches

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - The Lebanese government's new provisions on a salary grid and the resulting increase of salaries in the public sector risk having a devastating impact on the entire reality of Lebanese schools managed by two-thirds by non-state subjects, the majority of whom belong to Lebanese Christian Churches and communities. For this reason, the Maronite Bishops, on Wednesday, 6 September, asked the State to examine the criteria regarding the increase of salaries according to the salary grid, or otherwise it has to take charge of the costs expected to also finance a salary increase for private school teachers. During the monthly meeting held in Dimane, and chaired by Patriarch Boutros Bechara Rai, the Maronite Bishops noted that only a public contribution may avoid Catholic schools the risk of a financial crisis that would have devastating consequences for the entire national education system. On Tuesday, September 5, at the inaugural ceremony of the 24th National Congress of Catholic Schools in Lebanon, Patriarch Rai stated that Catholic schools are not against increasing teachers' wages but want to avoid that such increase leads to a drastic increase in taxes and school fees paid by families, and therefore ask "the State to take charge of the teachers' salary increase". "Private schools" said Boulos Matar, Maronite Archbishop of Beirut last week "welcome more than two-thirds of Lebanese students. If they stop working, will the State be able to provide education for these students?" (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 7/9/2017)