Lebanese schooling system has been stamped by a de facto division between Christians, and Muslims. Schooling is not compulsory, even if it is provided for all. While almost all Christian children attend school, the story has normally been totally different for the Muslims.
Private schools in Lebanon are partly regulated by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Teacher training is also off the government budget, financed by many interests, ranging from private companies to the World Bank and the United Nations.
Private schools largely follow the same curriculum as public schools.
English and French are important languages in school. While Arabic is the main language of instruction from basic education through universities, French and English are used from secondary education for subjects like mathematics and science.
Expenditure on education was estimated at 2.7% of GDP in 2006, corresponding to $300/capita if calculated to GDP of 2008. This is low, placing Lebanon on rank 13 of 20 in the MENA region. Still, private schools and institutions are financed privately.
Yet Lebanon has a literacy rate as high as 87%.
Participation at pre-primary education in Lebanon is high, 67% in 2007, with equilibrium between boys and girls. About 80% of all kindergartens are privately run.
There is only a very limited pedagogical program at this level.
Children start primary education at the age of 5. Elementary is divided into two cycles, both 3 years, 6 years together.
Elementary education is not compulsory in Lebanon, but enrollment rates are high at 95%. There is a small discrepancy between sexes; 3% of boys do not attend, 6% of girls.
In 2007, 68% of all pupils attended private schools.
Intermediate education is 3 years, and follows directly from elementary education.
Enrollment rates were in 2007, 87%. At this level, sex discrepancy shifts, now there are more girls, 91% of all in each age group compared to 83% for boys.
There is a relatively low completion rate at this level, 82%, with 83% for girls and 80% for boys. Compared with the initial enrollment, 4% of boys drop out, 9% of girls through the intermediate level.
There are technical and vocational programs at this level, but only 5% of all pupils follow such programs.
2008 figures show that the private share of education at this level is slightly lower than for elementary education, with 60%.
Secondary education is 3 years, and divided into two main branches; General; and Technical. Enrollment rate at this level is 75%, and now the the gender unbalance has increased, 70% for boys and 80% for girls. About 70% attend General, almost 30% Technical. Private schools has an even smaller part of pupils here, now there are about 50% at public General, and 43% at Technical.
The General has several specialities like Humanities; Economics; Life sciences; and Science.
The Technical has more than 50 different specialities, but the number of these offered varies between schools.
What a pupil specialized in, is decided by the staff of each school, and based upon individual qualifications.
Upon completion of the 3 years, whether General or Technical, pupils take a national examination to obtain the Lebanese Bacalaureate.
Palestinian refugees are generally not permitted into public secondary schools. They are offered secondary schools run by the UNRWA,
Lebanon has many universities to its population size. With 24 such institutions altogether, the university density is the second highest in the MENA region. Institutions of higher education are in addition to universities, technical and vocational Institutes; university colleges; and university institutes and Universities.
With the exception of Lebanese University in Beirut all universities are private, and are largely linked to religious groups, usually involving the effective exclusion of individuals outside that community. Still, private institutions are under extensive government supervision.
There are also here a larger percentage of female students than male.
Universities largely follow the structure of Bachelors's degree followed by a Master's degree.