Minister of Education

Minister of Education

On 13 June 2011, Professor Diab was appointed minister of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) as part of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet. He was the first education minister to have a long background in education and was an advocate of educational reform. He remained in office until 14 February 2014, but in the capacity of caretaker minister after 23 March 2013.

His ministry at the time was the largest in Lebanon, composed of major directorates and offices, such as the Directorate of Education, Directorate of Higher Education, Directorate of Vocational and Technical Education (VTE), etc. MEHE included around 60,000 employees across the country and controlled or oversaw around 3,000 schools, 50 higher education institutions, and 450 VTE institutes in both the public and private sectors, attending to over 1.3 million students.

Professor Diab’s term as minister saw a number of accomplishments at MEHE that included producing an “ICT in Education” strategic plan. They also included setting a new law for K-9 compulsory education, thus making education for students between the ages of 6 and 15 compulsory. MEHE also passed a law requiring compulsory community service to all high school students, culminating in almost one million hours of community service per year. Other accomplishments include making major progress in vocational and technical education, replacing an outdated higher education law with a new one, and saving billions of Lebanese Lira through several ministerial decisions.

In 2013, after almost two and a half years of reform in higher education, the World Economic Forum gave Lebanon the following ranks out of 144 countries in higher education: quality of schools of business (13th), quality of education (10th), and quality of teaching math and science (4th). Some of these numbers regressed after Dr. Diab’s term ended in 2014.

The Lebanese government was also the recipient of the GSMA 2014 Connected Government Award, which was the result of the Ministry of Telecommunications and MEHE actively encouraging the innovative use of mobile technologies that deliver long-term and sustainable socio-economic benefit and wellbeing for their citizens.

Moreover, Professor Diab made valuable contributions to research on Human Rights Education (HRE) in the context of the work of the United Nations (UN) on HRE and how countries are attempting to focus on building a culture of human rights within their societies. Importantly, he conducted a study in Lebanon during the Syrian refugee crisis, as the country hosted a great number of refugees or saw them transitioning through it to Europe and beyond. The curricular reform that was done after the Lebanese Civil War had integrated HRE in one school subject, namely civics. Dr. Diab argued the need for another curricular reform to integrate HRE in Lebanese school systems in light of new developments over the years.


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