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Wednesday , November 14 2018

The deafening silence

Mutasarrifate was one of the ruling systems adopted by the Ottoman Empire from 1860 until 1918 under which Mount Lebanon was administratively separated from the rest of the Levant for reasons related to the multiplicity of doctrines and faiths of Mount Lebanon.

The Mutasarrifate system stipulated that the governor should be an Ottoman foreign Christian, not a Turkish, or a Lebanese in order to avoid any strife among the people. The idea of Mutasarrifate came in the era of the administrative subdivisions initiated by Abdul Hamid I (27th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire), in an attempt to rescue the state from the internal problems that it had experienced.

The system was recognized after the strife and the major sectarian war that struck Lebanon in 1860 which resulted in the painful massacres in Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley and Mount Amel in the south between Christians and Muslims in general, and the Maronites and Druze, in particular.

Since that time until date, the Lebanese government has almost the same tradition of appointing governors provided his doctrine or religion differs from the religion or doctrine of the majority of the population of the region to which he has been delegated to administer or rule.

The governor here would be more neutral, not inclining to one side against another, and it would be too difficult for any group to buy his loyalty easily, and therefore we find that the governor of the south is often Christian, and the governor of the north Shiite, for example, and so on.

It was necessary to provide this light prelude before entering into the subject of the silence of the Ministry of Education to go into the decision of reshuffling some of the school principals from one area to another, in an effort to reduce the cases of cheating.

It is this decision that agitated a number of school students — males in particular — and their parents who gave the Ministry of Education (MoE) and officials the worst descriptions, and the securitymen intervened to disperse the gathering at the minister’s office.

The ministry did not respond to the attacks and accusations and did not explain the reason for reshuffling the school principals and managers to other areas.

If it were to stop cheating, those lenient leaders would pass their tolerance to the schools they were transferred to, so why were they originally reshuffled?

The Ministry also has not announced any punitive action against those who assumingly have failed to perform their supervisory duties properly, but has preferred not to give any explanation for its silence.

I searched for the reason for the silence of the ministry about the misconduct of the accused principals of being lenient with their students and their failure to hold them accountable and I found the answer in the Mutasarrifate system.

The appointments of the ministry, like other state institutions in Kuwait, are partly subject to the whims of some MPs. Because a majority of students in each school are residents in the same area, it is natural that the majority of its teachers are also from the same area for ethnic and logistic reasons, and the principal is no exception.

Thus, the leniency of the principal and teachers with their students was expected. In order to stop this collusion, the Minister of Education (MoE) decided to put an end to this folly by conducting a screening process or a ‘reshuffle’ for a group of principals, to prevent them from being compassionate and lenient with students in those schools because they do not belong to their group or sect and therefore they will not gain political or other interest in applying the rules effectively on them.

The principals, who were reshuffled without punishment, are members of the teachers’ association, which is said to be controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and may have been the reason why no sanctions were imposed on them.

This is our interpretation of the problem, and we may be wrong, and if so, we demand that the ministry give a logical explanation for its silence to punish, or at least criticize the accused for being lenient, if not expelling them from their jobs.

e-mail: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

By Ahmad Al Sarraf

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