Worst off, however, are the students at the Lebanese University. In addition to the economic difficulties, they face problems such as power cuts that interrupt distance education.
Khadija Barakat, 22, a dentistry student at the university, said students at practical colleges are the most affected.
She told Al-Fanar Media: “We have not had any practical training due to the lack of the necessary materials and the ill-equipped training places.” She added that “most students had to drop out after the university stopped providing financial grants.”
The crisis has forced dozens of academics to leave the country, in search of better working conditions. Most of them were contract professors at the Lebanese University.
One professor, who asked to be identified only by the initials S.A., went to France a few months ago because he felt that working at the Lebanese University “is morally or materially useless”. He left without telling the university, but continues to teach remotely.
“The majority of contracted professors moved to France because they hold French nationality,” S.A. explained. “Gulf countries and other European countries have attracted a smaller number.”
Contract lecturers have no legal or administrative obligation and are “the weakest link in the Lebanese University,” he said.
To help confront the crisis, former students have joined the Full-Time Professors’ Association and university officials in asking international donor organisations to support the university.
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One of the graduates, Jihad Al-Mallah, who teaches at the American University of Beirut, said supporting the Lebanese University “is a matter of national security at the highest levels.”
Describing the university as a “great national asset,” Al-Mallah said it “constitutes a direct means to keep tens of thousands of students and teachers in the country, and most importantly, it presents an opportunity to confront the collapse of Lebanon.”
He added: “When countries face crises and collapse, they are supposed to search for a big institutional entity that can be pushed to be a lever to confront the collapse, by supporting it socially, financially, and economically.”