university located in beirut.
The Lebanese University, established in 1952, is under the jurisdiction of the ministry of education. It was founded to allow Lebanese from lower-income groups to receive a university education, which for decades had been the monopoly of those who could afford private universities. It has two branches—one in East Beirut and the other in West Beirut—and smaller branches in the provinces of the north, the south, and the Biqa valley. University faculties (departments) include law, political science and management, engineering, literature and humanities, education, social sciences, fine arts, journalism and advertising, business administration, and agriculture. The language of instruction is Arabic; study of one foreign language is required by all faculties.
Although the Lebanese University has filled a gap and has catered to a sector of the population that had been virtually left out of the private educational system, holders of degrees from the Lebanese University are regarded as inferior job applicants, compared with holders of degrees from the American University of Beirut or Saint Joseph University. The state apparatus also favors graduates of the two private universities. The Lebanese University's lack of endowment forces it to be totally dependent on state funding, which is not always forthcoming. Classes are overcrowded, and there are no admissions standards. Staff and faculty are underpaid, which forces many of them to seek outside employment as well. Furthermore, the large student body enables some students to show up only for final exams.
Like other institutions, the university was affected by the Lebanese Civil War of 1975. Many professors were forced to take a political stance, and some were pressured by armed students to change their grades. Some of the buildings of the university were occupied by militias, and others were heavily damaged.
see also american university of beirut (aub); saint joseph university.
Collelo, Thomas, ed. Lebanon: A Country Study, 3d edition. Washington, DC: Dept. of the Army, 1989.
updated by michael r. fischbach