Yara Saad wrote in Al-Akhbar:
The scene of the academic year at the Lebanese University is still foggy. It is not known how long the previously scheduled teachers’ strike will last to demand financial and social stability, and when the actual return to classes will be. While there is a tendency among college deans to go to “blended education” with the opportunity to receive those who do not have the ability or means to learn in person. And these two, that is, the capacity and the means, seem today to be beyond the reach of many students with the abolition of fuel subsidies, which raised the service fee from 2000 to 15-20 thousand pounds, and the fare for the two thousand from 1000 pounds to 7-10 thousand pounds, within Beirut and its suburbs?
By simple calculation, the transportation expenses for one student in in-person teaching can reach 600 thousand pounds per month, an amount that exceeds the registration fee for the entire academic year, and may double with the lifting of the total fuel subsidy!
It is becoming more and more “disastrous” for students who live far from the capital. Nada, for example, lives in Hermel and her college is in Beirut. “Two years ago, the university journey cost me 24,000 pounds. This month, I have an exam with 3 subjects. I pay 70 thousand pounds for the fare of the van to Beirut, and 15 thousand pounds to get to my college. I mean, I will pay 500,000 pounds in just three days, so how about a full academic year?”
Rahel feels burdened and suffocated every time she thinks about the cost of transportation. Trying to do the impossible to secure the money. She currently works in the manufacture and sale of art paintings. “In the past, the income of students who work was hardly enough for them to pay the costs of studying,” but today, “what a student earns is no longer enough to travel back and forth!” Ali says.
The situation is not better for students who choose to live in student housing in order to save money, effort and time, as the cost of renting apartments for this category has also risen as a result of the sharp rise in prices.
In view of this, students are faced with two choices: to attend or not to attend. “Unless the lectures are transmitted online to those who are unable to attend.” Here, they will encounter a new – old problem: electricity cuts, subscriptions, and the absence of the Internet, in addition to transportation costs during exam days.
None of the students has a clear vision of how things will turn out, especially with regard to university majors that require daily attendance to understand the courses and not lose grades and be denied exams. However, a number of them began to think of solutions such as getting up early to walk to the university (even for more than 50 minutes), or choosing colleges near the place of residence, if there are any, regardless of the specialization the student wants.