Saturday, April 08, 2006

Here is something to really be proud of

I am sure that most of you have read the article published by the daily star that reported new scholarships, which will be awarded to the top twelve students in Lebanon based on their Baccalaureate exam scores. In fact, I am a bit surprised that no one in the blogosphere has picked up on that story considering it really highlights an attempt (however small) to break the elite strangle-hold on AUB.

I have a couple questions to ask about this scholarship because the article does not answer them:

  1. What if all the students who got the top 12 scores could afford to go to AUB anyway? The article says nothing about "means tests."
  2. I wouldn't mind if all the winners of the scholarships were from one sect. However, I've been told by some that I am different from the average joe/jane in Lebanon. I don't think I need to even ask the question here.
And here is a list of "if only's" that I will go through as well:

  1. If only the best and brightest of Lebanon did not have to leave to make a decent living
  2. If only Civilization Sequence (CS) classes were taken a bit more seriously and taught more effectively. Technical degrees are not enough. Ideas are needed to beat sectarianism and religious fundamentalism - ideas that engineering classes do not teach.
  3. If only there were more than 12 scholarships going out per year
  4. If only the Berris, Jumblatts and Franjiehs of this world would keep their dirty hands out of this initiative and refrain from polluting it.


Anonymous said...

Taking CS classes more seriously? I think there's a fundamental problem with most students at AUB, although this probably applies to most students in Lebanon: Students pursue what their parents aspire, engineering, medicine, or whatever your parents pick based on the maximum prestige factor.

For the most part, CS is just a rubber stamp that you have to get in order to graduate. I agree with you, it needs to be taught more effectively. But regardless, it's the mentality that doctors and engineers are superior to other professions that makes CS irrelevant.

Doctors and engineers are highly regarded anywhere in the world, but we have an insistance on placing them on a higher pedestal, poo-poo-ing on everythinge else.

Case in point - in the next election, take note of the number of al-fannan (the artist) Tony Joe, or al-sha3ir (the poet) Hussein Mafkoosh. Instead we always get the typical al-hakeem, al-muhendis, al-3azeem ...

Lazarus said...


there was a similar initiative in 1999, with the "Merit Scholarship", in which 10 people every year had their AUB tuition paid in full. It's good to hear that more of this is being done.

Anonymous said...

That's a good thing. I found it ridiculous that the scholarships at AUB are de facto distributed on sectarian basis, regardless of who deserved it or need it the most.

Anonymous said...

by the status as they are chartered and having accreditation from foreign organism they are obliged to do so

aub already lost an accreditation few year ago bcz of a secterian "positive" discrimination

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who is not impressed by this development. Twelve scholarships for a country of 4-4.5 million people and we call that a positive development!!! What is failure then?
It is always a positive development whenever access to even one student is created but to celebrate instead of excoriate the Lebanese institutions when the best they can come up with is to offer crumbs is unexcusable. I wouldn't be surprised if the expenses of Lahouds trip to Khartoum would have been enough to fund maybe twenty scholarships. Government will not respopnd unless we demand that they take meaningful action and 12 lousy scholarships just ain't it.

Anonymous said...

The only meaningful action would be to pour funds into the lebanese university, which currently offers education to more than 100,000 students. AUB can take 6000 at most, in comparison. The new 7adath complex may go a long way, should it be properly equipped, but it can only take 30% of the LU students.

Anonymous said...

Who decides whether the students "can afford it anyway"? These are merit scholarships, not financial aid.

Kelly K

Raja said...


True. However, I believe that some Schools in the United States - at the undergraduate and MA levels do offer to pay 20%-30%-50% of tuition if the Student can prove, through a means test, that they actually need it. So the financial aid/scholarship is merit based because it would not be offered unless the student was accepted in the first place, and also based on need.

I really have not given too much thought to this issue but the system described above does appear to be a little more fair than a pure merit-based system.

Anonymous said...

You can have both.

I think it is important to have strictly merit-based scholarships for over-achievers, to stimulate the students. It is similar to getting a bonus at work, for simply working hard, which ofcourse hardly ever happens in Lebanon. Nobody feels appreciated. This innitiative, in addition to the ten merit scholarships given every year, are tiny steps towards a culture where your efforts are noticed and rewarded.
As for the other scholarships, they exist already at AUB, through the financial aid program, but the system is, sadly, extemely corrupt.