The Lebanese elementary school is divided into two stages: a compulsory primary school, from the age of 6 to 11, and a secondary school, from the age of 11 to 18. Literacy is quite high, 90% of the adult population (2007). Since the 1990s, the proportion of children who do not start schooling has decreased significantly, and today nine out of ten children attend primary school. Three quarters of the students read on in secondary school. The situation was much more difficult, with a relatively low participation in both primary and secondary school, in the years following the long civil war (1975-90), during which, among other things, many schools were destroyed and universities were often closed.
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Higher education is given at some forty universities, including one state, Lebanese University in Beirut. However, many young people apply abroad for higher education.
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Prime Minister al-Hariri launched the “Horizon 2000” project to rebuild Beirut and implement a constitutional reform aimed at extending the president’s term of office, thus providing the necessary stability to carry out the project. At the same time, his plan to reestablish Lebanon’s status as the financial capital of the Middle East continued to advance.
The parliamentary elections were conducted in five rounds between June and September 1996. The turnout was low and thousands of administrative irregularities were reported. The ruling party with al-Hariri in the lead gained a majority, but Hezbollah lost only 1 seat in parliament.
The economy had undergone significant changes in the period 1992-96. This was reflected in in a reduction of inflation from 170% to 10% and an increase of 200% in foreign exchange reserves.
In 1997, the clash between the Hezbollah guerrilla and the Israeli army, which continued to occupy an 850 km 2 area in southern Lebanon, was re-occupied by Tel Aviv characterized as a “security zone”. This year, the Israeli military had to note 39 casualties – the largest number since 1985. The number intensified public Israeli pressure on the Israeli government to end the war.
In February 1998, Beirut rejected a proposal from Tel Aviv to re-negotiate a possible withdrawal of Israeli troops. Lebanon demanded unconditional withdrawal with reference to, among other things, Security Council Resolution 425. Israel wanted to conclude a bilateral agreement to end the partisan attacks. But it was difficult to imagine an agreement between the two countries without Syria’s consent, and this would be difficult to achieve. The assessment was that Damascus did not want the conflict in southern Lebanon resolved. It was intended to contribute to pressure on Israel during the negotiations between Israel and Syria on the return of the strategically important Golan Heights occupied by Israel since June 1967.
On October 15, 98, Parliament elected General Emile Lahoud as the country’s president. He had support from the military and from Syria. The municipal elections that year showed increased support for Hezbollah. The Christians got 12 of the 24 seats in the Beirut city council. In December, Salim al-Hoss was elected new Prime Minister.
The change of government in Israel in July 1999 raised new hopes for peace. In his election campaign, Ehud Barak had promised withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces in southern Lebanon, and in December he made a plan for withdrawal from Lebanon, but the final negotiations were dependent on an agreement with Syria on the return of the Golan Heights.
Finally, in March 2000, Israel declared that by July the country would escape Lebanon – with or without agreement with that country or with Syria. The Lebanese Prime Minister initially welcomed the Israeli declaration, but said at the same time that the withdrawal should take place. a comprehensive peace settlement between the two countries. President Lahoud declared that Israel could not expect any security guarantees from Lebanon until Golan was returned to Syria or before the problems of Palestinian refugees in southern Lebanon had been resolved. The withdrawal of pro-Israeli militia forces led to increasing talks with the Hezbollah forces, and al-Hoss therefore criticized Israel’s reluctance to enter into a comprehensive peace agreement during a visit to Damascus in April 2000. A month later, the clashes with Hezbollah led, that Israel immediately withdrew its forces from the country. The withdrawal immediately prompted the Israeli rental army in the area, SLA, to disband.
The Israeli withdrawal in September allowed the area’s residents to take part in the parliamentary elections – for the first time in almost 30 years. During the election campaign, both Christians and Muslims, right and left, were joined by former Prime Minister Hariri, criticizing the military’s interference in the country’s politics and the government’s inability to rebuild the economy. The multimillionaire and his supporters won by a significant margin the election. President Lahoud, who had otherwise vehemently opposed Hariri, therefore had no other option but to appoint him as prime minister in October. The Lebanese constitution defines the distribution of ministerial posts based on religion, thus curbing religious rivalry. President Lahoud belongs to the Maronite (Christian) church, has been elected by parliament for a 6-year term and must consult parliament ifbm. the appointment of prime ministers.