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The role of higher education institutions in addressing youth unemployment in Lebanon

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Hana Addam El-Ghali
Abstract:
This qualitative study investigates how higher education institutions address youth unemployment in Lebanon. Using a descriptive study design, it maps out the issues and potential solutions within the environment the universities are embedded from the perspectives of leading policy makers in the field of higher education in the country. The policy perspectives of university rectors, government officials, and private sector employers are charted and then compared in relation to youth unemployment, jobless graduates and the higher education institutional role. The theoretical framework, which has been derived from the human capital literature and higher education institutional theories, guides analysis of interviews with institutional policymakers. The core study finding offers support for the compilation of fundamental data and official demographic statistics, which will influence any potential policy reform to be considered. Results suggest that there are differences and similarities between the different participant groups in identifying the roots, risks and responses to the problem of youth unemployment in the Lebanon. Additional findings point to a centrality of institutional role in the mitigation of the crisis of jobless graduates in the country. Among policy recommendations to follow the data compilation are joint efforts to address policy reform in the higher education subsector in Lebanon.

OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

.................................................................................................................................... XI

1.0

INTRODUCTION

........................................................................................................ 1

1.1

CONTEXT OF THE PROBLEM

...................................................................... 2

1.1.1

Regional Context .............................................................................................. 3

1.1.2

Local Context

................................................................................................... 4

1.1.3

Institutional Context ...................................................................................... 10

1.2

RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND THEIR SIGNIFICANC E

......................... 13

2.0

LITERATURE REVIEW

.......................................................................................... 15

2.1

DEMOGRAPHICS

............................................................................................ 15

2.2

MARKET/EMPLOYMENT OP PROTUNITIES ........................................... 21

2.3

POLICY SOLUT IONS

..................................................................................... 28

2.3.1

Government Sector

........................................................................................ 29

2.3.2

Private Sector

................................................................................................. 32

2.3.3

Higher Education Subsector

......................................................................... 34

3.0

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

............................................................................. 36

3.1

THE HUMAN CAPITAL TH EORY

............................................................... 36

3.1.1

Macro - Level Human Capital Perspective

................................................... 37

3.1.2

Micro - Level Human Capital Perspective

.................................................... 43

vi

3.1.3

Hu man Capital and Complimentary Capitals

............................................ 45

3.1.4

Critique of the Human capital Theory

........................................................ 47

3.1.5

Capital Creation and Youth Unemployment in Lebanon

.......................... 50

3.2

HIGHER EDUCATION INS TITUTIONAL THEORY

................................ 57

3.2.1

Role of Higher Education Institutions in the Society

................................. 57

3.2.2

Higher Education Institutions and Societal Change

.................................. 60

3.3

SUMMARY

........................................................................................................ 65

4.0

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

............................................................................. 67

4.1

RESEARCH DESIGN

....................................................................................... 68

4.2

PARTICIPANTS

............................................................................................... 69

4.3

DATA COLLECTION

...................................................................................... 71

4.3.1

Elite Interviews

.............................................................................................. 72

4.4

DATA ANALYSIS

............................................................................................. 75

4.4.1

Data Coding.................................................................................................... 75

4.4.2

Data Interpretation ........................................................................................ 76

4.4.2.1

Perceived Role of Higher Education Institutions

....................... 79

4.4.2.2

Policymakers’ Awareness

................................................................ 80

4.4.2.3

Other Emergent Themes

.................................................................. 81

5.0

FINDINGS

.................................................................................................................. 83

5.1

INTERPRETATION OF TH E DATA ............................................................. 84

5.1.1

Findings Category 1: Awareness of the Youth Unemployment Crisis

..... 85

5.1.1.1

University Leaders

.............................................................................. 86

5.1.1.2

Other Leaders

...................................................................................... 88

vii

5.1.1.3

Summary: Awareness

......................................................................... 91

5.1.2

Findings Category 2: Roots of the Youth Unemployment Crisis

.............. 91

5.1.2.1

University Leaders

.............................................................................. 91

5.1.2.2

Other Leaders

...................................................................................... 94

5.1.2.3

Summary: Roots

.................................................................................. 96

5.1.3

Findings Category 3: Risks of the Youth Unemployment Crisis

.............. 97

5.1.3.1

University Leaders

.............................................................................. 97

5.1.3.2

Other Leaders

.................................................................................... 100

5.1.3.3

Summ ary: Risks

................................................................................ 100

5.1.4

Findings Category 4: Responses to Address the Youth Unemployment Crisis

101

5.1.4.1

University Leaders

............................................................................ 101

5.1.4.2

Other Leaders

.................................................................................... 104

5.1.4.3

Summary: Responses

........................................................................ 107

5.2

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

........................................................................... 107

6.0

RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS

AND RECOMMENDATIONS

............................. 111

6.1

DISCUSSION OF STUDY RESULTS ........................................................... 112

6.2

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

............................................................... 119

6.3

LIMITATIONS OF THE S TUDY

................................................................. 120

6.4

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTION

...................................................... 122

6.4.1

Best Practices and Emergent Policies

........................................................ 124

6.4.1.1

Syria .................................................................................................... 125

6.4.1.2

Jordan

................................................................................................ 126

viii

6.4.1.3

Tunisia

................................................................................................ 127

6.4.1.4

Morocco .............................................................................................. 128

6.4.1.5

Yemen

................................................................................................. 129

6.4.2

Lebanon Context Relevant Policy Recommendations

............................. 131

6.5

CONCLUSION

................................................................................................ 133

APPENDIX A

............................................................................................................................ 135

APPENDIX B

............................................................................................................................ 137

APPENDIX C

............................................................................................................................ 139

APPENDIX D

............................................................................................................................ 140

BIBLIOGRAPHY

..................................................................................................................... 141

ix

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1 Ranking MENA Countries by Unemployment Rates (most recent year)

........................ 18

Table 2 Unemployment Rate by gender for the age group 15 and above (2007)

......................... 23

Table 3 Unemployment by Major (1994- 1998)

............................................................................ 24

Table 4 Lebanese Emigrants by Country/Region

......................................................................... 25

Table 5 Distribution of Labor Force Sample according to Education

.......................................... 28

Table 6 Return to Education in Lebanon

...................................................................................... 29

Table 7 Labor Freedom Index

....................................................................................................... 33

Table 8 Gross Enrollmen t Ratios in Lebanon, by Education Level and Gender, 2004

................ 51

Table 9 Student Enrollment in Lebanon, by Education Level and Type of School, 2006–2007 . 53

Table 10 Intersection of Research Questions and Interview Questions

....................................... 74

Table 11 Level of Awareness of University Leaders

.................................................................... 86

Table 12 University Leaders’ Perceived Roots of Youth Unemployment in Lebanon

................ 91

Table 13 Perceived Role of University in Mitigating the Youth Unemployment Crisis

............ 102

Table 14 Summary of Findings ................................................................................................... 108

Table 15 Youth Unemployment Reform in Select Countries of the MENA

.............................. 130

Table 16 Participating Universities

............................................................................................. 137

x LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1 Student Enrollment Trend

.............................................................................................. 13

Figure 2 Population pyramid for residents of Lebanon ................................................................ 19

Figure 3 Population pyramid for native residents of Lebanon

..................................................... 20

Figure 4 Lebanon Population Pyramid in Thousands – 1980, 2010, 2040 ................................... 21

Figure 5 Impact of Education on Economic Growth and Development

....................................... 41

Figure 6 Growth in Universities in Lebanon 1886- 2001 .............................................................. 52

Figure 7 Parental Occupation of Higher Education Students

...................................................... 54

Figure 8 Research Study Development ......................................................................................... 78

Figure 9 Trends in Youth Unemployment Rates

........................................................................ 126

Figure 10 Snapshot of Tr eenode

................................................................................................. 139

xi

PREFACE

I am thankful to Allah for granting me the opportunity to pursue this degree and complete it. I could have not done it without His guidance and generosity.

This degree

is dedicated to my husband, Bilal El - Ghali, and my children, Reem and Adam, who have made my dream of completing my doctoral degree come true. I am thankful for having you in my life and I am thankful for the support and encouragement you gave me throughout this journey. I could have not done it without Bilal’s devotion, and Reem and Adam’s love and patience. Bilal, your dedication to my educational journey is beyond what words can describe. Reem and Adam, you are the reason I persisted. My parents, Hiam and Ahmad, were always encouraging.

My dad instilled in

me

the love of learning

and always reminded me of its importance. I hope I made him proud. My mom’s words of encouragement and long - distance phone calls throughout the journey kept me going. My sisters, Hania and Hala, always believed in me. I always knew that I had someone to talk to at anytime I needed.

Dr. Maureen W. McClure was

more than just an advisor or a mentor to me. She has taught me lessons in life in addition to the academics and research. She knew me so well. I always fel t like I had someone to come to at any time . She has helped me grow into a more

xii

mature writer and researcher and to look beyond the text. More importantly, she has taught me to challenge myself an d dare to say what I believe in . I am thankful to

Dr. John L.

Yeager who taught me to take risks. He has helped me grow into a better and more confident writer through supporting my work and helping me get it published. I am proud and honored to have been his co - author and co - presenter on a number of publications and conference presentations. I am thankful

to Dr. John C. Weidman who was always available to give me the advice and guidance I need to finish my degree. Dr. Weidman could always find a solution to any problem. I am thankful to Dr. Fatma El - Hamidi, who was

a person I looked up to as a working Middle Eastern woman (and mother) in academia. She taught me to look at details and be more critical. I am thankful to Dr. Maureen Porter’s patience and mentoring. I have to admit that without her this dissertation could not be possible. She not only taught

me how to use Nvivo, but she also went beyond that to help me think about my ideas and always encouraged me to move forward.

Finally, I am also thankful to all the people

who impacted my academic journey

but I have not listed here.

I hope this is the beginning of a fruitful professional career that will have a positive impact on the world.

1 1.0

INTRODUCTION

Youth 1 Amidst this crisis, universities play a pivotal new role in addressing the youth unemployment problem for they are among the institutions that prepare the labor force for the most educated people in the country. I n the past, the country was growing and graduation almost guaranteed job placement. This is no longer the case. In this chapter, the context of youth unemployment crisis is presented with special focus on the Law on Higher Education (1996). Additionally, t his section presents the general purpose of the study and the research questions that guided the inquiry.

unemployment has grown into an epidemic in Lebanon because its youth population is at a peak; it has an ov ercrowded higher education market; and concerns for socio - economic status in the country do not match labor market needs. In addition, the global economic crisis has also added to this problem because it has become a custom in the country for the Lebanese youth to travel abroad in pursuit of employment. However, with the onset of a global economic recession, many of these young women and men lost their jobs and were faced with the difficult decision of returning to their homeland to find that it also did not have any job or career options to offer.

1

The United Nations youth definition (persons between the ages of 15 and 24) will be used for the purpose of this study (See Section 2.1).

2 1.1

CONTEXT OF THE PROBLEM

The purpose of this study is to determine how the youth unemployment crisis is being addressed by higher education institutions

in Lebanon through the investigation of the perspectives of policy makers: local university presidents, permanent civil servants 2 The global economic crisis beginning in 2008 has greatly impacted the economy in the Middl e East and North Africa (MENA) region, particularly fragile states with weak economies such as Lebanon. Today’s y oung people missed the prosperous economy of the past and now face

a weak economy in which they are expected to be productive members ( Salehi - I sfahani and Dhillon, 2008) . The labor market and related policies constitute a critical component of these countries’ economies (Gonzalez et al., 2008). With unemployment on the rise, it is critical for policymakers to address issues pertaining to the yout h population in these countries . , and employers within the local labor market . This study examines the reasons for youth unemployment in Lebanon with an inves tigation of the social and economic factors that influence the current situation, and explores how the institutions of higher education can make a difference. The study illustrates aspects of the current youth unemployment crisis in Lebanon. It

present s

an

urgent call for higher education institutions to respond to the escalating condition in the country mapping both theoretical and policy frameworks of human capital.

Higher education institutions are now called on to play a significant role as Lebanon struggles to create economic and social opportunities for young citizens to

match their education with their

expectations.

T his study ex amines the perspectives of policy makers on the reasons for

2

It is significant to include permanent civil servants as they are able to pr ovide a longitudinal view of the ministry they represent for they have been in the particular ministry for a considerable time as opposed to the ministers themselves who come and go with the different political regimes that govern the country.

3 the youth unemployment in Lebanon and the role of higher education institutions in the country relative to this crisis. This study will contribute to a deeper understanding of the links between

ed ucation and the demands of the labor market and the high incidence of joblessness youth face today.

1.1.1

Regional Context

The youth population 3

3

See Secti on 2.1 for definition of Youth .

is currently at a historical peak in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with an aggregate unemployment rate for thos e between the ages of 15 and 24 at nearly 25 percent , compared to the world average of 14 percent (Dhillon and Yousef, 2009; Salehi - Isfahani and Dhillon, 2008; Kabbani and Kothari, 2005 ) . It is estimated at 66.2 million young men and women (Chaaban, 2007). This population is projected to continue to grow in the coming years. According to the United Nations Population Fund, the annual growth rate for 2000- 2010 is estimated at 1.2 percents for the world and 2.5 percent for the Arab states (Omran, 1998). This is further observed in the region’s population momentum. The number of people entering their reproductive years annually is higher than those exiting, consequently leading to a geometric increase of marriage –in a conservative culture as that of the MENA re gion. Societal norms expect marriage at a young age, on average within the twenties (Omran, 1998). In the face of this population growth, the region faces a weakening economy. There has been a break out of a number of civil revolutions to overcome the exis ting political regimes because people have been suffering from the rise in living expenses and the unemployment rates. According to forecasts from the International Labor Organization (ILO), total unemployment in the MENA

has

4 increase d by 3 million in 2009 (Assaad and Roudi - Fahimi, 2007). Young people in the region are greatly impacted by this weakening economy , as youth employment is highly sensitive to fluctuations in economic conditions. Several factors are leading to increased youth unemployment in the

MENA region as well to a long transition time before young people land their first job after completing their higher education. Some of these factors lay within the supply side and others can be found within the demand side of the labor market. Labor dema nd and supply imbalances that affect workers worsen the overall performance of a country’s economy by increasing the unemployment rate, particularly those countries with a strong reliance on human capital in the absence of natural resources (Gonzalez et al ., 2008). Several explanations of the observed trends of youth unemployment may be attributed to the school - to - work transition and the skills mismatch between education and the labor market.

1.1.2

Local Context

A similar situation of the mismatch of skills betw een educational institutions and the labor market is reflected in Lebanon. Y oung people in the country

face a struggle to secure a larger stake in their economy and society. The National Survey of Households Living Conditions for 2007 reports that

y outh re present 19.5 percent of the total population of Lebanon ( Ministry of Social Affairs, 2009) . This youth population is projected to continue to grow in the coming years. In the near future, however, t he population growth between 2010 and 2040 will eventually

shift the youth bulge and transform the Lebanese population into an aging population. This projected shift indicates that it is now critical to build the human capital of the country’s youth. Today’s youth need to contribute the productivity of the countr y. As they age, however, they will

5 become more dependent (dependents defined as those aged over 65), creating an increasing burden on society for more dependents is argued to consume more resources rather than accumulate increases in savings and investment s ( Dhillon and Yousef, 2009). Despite this future shift in the youth bulge, the youth population is projected to remain at a considerably high level in comparison with the rest of the world (DESA, 2009). With this wealth of human capital, it is critical f or Lebanon to take advantage of its youth population. This population will comprise the working - age population before it transitions to a dependant population by 2040 (Dhillon and Yousef, 2009). There are a number of contextual factors that impact youth e mployment opportunities in Lebanon. Among these factors are the current global and regional economic recession, and the socio - economic status in the country, including aspects such as the growing national public debt, market restrictions, youth emigration trends, the political instability and human security, and the country’s education system. In addition, outdated labor laws and nepotism tend to impact youth employment opportunities in the country.

The recent economic decline in the region has impacted the Lebanese youth population significantly (Dhillon and Yousef, 2009). Although Lebanon is not an oil - producing country, it is greatly impacted by the downturn of the economic situation of the region for it is one of the leading exporters of skilled and sem i - skilled labor to neighboring oil - producing countries (Gonzalez et. al, 2008). Most graduates who choose to leave the country explain that they do so in search of better career opportunities and working environment (UNDP, 2009). The national public debt has become a burden on the country. After the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990, the public debt skyrocketed, reaching US$47.35 billion in the second quarter of 2009, reflecting an increase of US$15,6 billion since 1997 (UNDP, 2009). It also has

6 been a rgued that Lebanon’s economy has been underperforming due to a number of other reasons, including the lack of government initiatives. For example, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) claims that Lebanon suffers from a lack of investments due to h igh start - up and shut - down costs for businesses (UNDP, 2009). Other investment impediments include corruption and a set of fiscal incentives favoring the allocation of resources to non- tradable sectors, such as tourism (Berthelemy et al., 2007). For exampl e, the government has been supportive of tourism - related occupations and jobs. This growth has, however, hindered the employment of the educated youth because the non- tradable sector relies heavily on low skilled workers, as opposed to tradable sectors whe re sectors are in direct competition with foreign trade.

In addition to the above mentioned obstacles to youth employment, a number of challenges exist within the market, both at the supply side and at the demand side. Research on unemployment concludes that the educational system outcomes (supply) do not align with market demand (Galal, 2002). Galal (2002) further argues that the link between education and employment is broken, leading to a pressing need to maximize the private and societal returns to educ ation.

Youth emigration has become a cultural and societal expectation, particularly in relation to skilled labor force of Lebanon. Lebanon’s youth are not finding their expectations met due to the paucity of available jobs, the types of jobs offered, and the salaries that are being offered (UNDP, 2009). Therefore, the majority of the new labor market entrants are opting to leave the country in search for a better opportunity abroad. This has led to a brain drain which may be gradually but progressively er oding the country of its active and productive population. Furthermore, it is estimated that 24 percent of the Lebanese labor force have post - secondary

7 education; whereas almost 50 percent of emigrants hold a university degree. This leaves Lebanon with onl y a 12 percent educated labor force (UNDP, 2009). This is coupled with the continuous flow of low - skilled foreign workers into the country (UNDP, 2009). Lebanon is exporting many of its skilled and educated youth.

Despite these negative aspects to emigrat ion, some may argue that remittances that are gained from this social trend have sustained families within the country (Nahas, 2009; UNDP, 2009). Lebanon received twice as much money from emigrant remittances ($5.2billion) in 2006 than from Foreign Direct Investment ($2.6billion). Eighty percent of these remittances, however, have been used for daily household consumption rather than direct investments. Lebanon is thus slowly being shaped into a dependency economy, where emigrant remittances serve as financ ial patches for national economic sustainability (European Investment Bank, 2006; Chaaban, 2009

interview ; UNDP, 2009). Political instability and human security threats have also greatly impacted the youth unemployment situation in the country. Following

the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rafik Harriri in 2005, Lebanon witnessed large scale hostilities nationwide in 2006. The conflict resulted in more than 1,187 deaths, 4,398 injuries, destruction of infrastructure, disruption of essential ser vices and the displacement of an estimated 25 percent of the population (Klap and Yassin, 2008) . It was projected that youth unemployment would increase as a result of the 2006 war, particularly due to its effect on the tourism and other economic sectors ( Klap and Yassin, 2008). An estimated 30,000 jobs were lost and around 20 percent of the youth are believed to have emigrated as a direct result of this war (UNDP, 2009). The political instability and human security threats have thus been a chronic impedime nt for foreign investments in the country. These two factors consequently have further encouraged youth immigration.

8 The education sector also impacts the employment situation for youth in the country. Despite the efforts that the Lebanese government has put forth to improve its education system, it has failed to keep up with the advancements that have taken place globally (UNDP, 2009). For example, the laws regulating the higher education subsector in the country may create special impediments to youth em ployment by influencing the rate of jobless graduates. The main law that regulates the private sector of higher education was issued in 1961 by which a Council for Higher Education was established with a mechanism of licensing new higher education institut ions (MEHE, 2009). This law was first issued to regulate the higher education sub-sector. It is made up of 28 articles that outline the legal framework for establishing and running private higher education institutions (Nahas, 2009). Another attempt at reg ulating the higher education subsector was the decree number 9274 that was passed in 1996 by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, known as the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education at the time. It modernized the 1961 Higher Education Law and set new condit ions and the criteria for licensing new private higher education institutions ( Traboulsi, 2010; MEHE, 1996). This decree consisted of 11 articles, particularly highlighting the establishment of an Education Committee that is tasked with looki ng over the applications for the establishment of new higher education institutions (Nahas, 2009). T his decree had an influential impact on youth employment because with its introduction, the country witnessed an increase in the number of higher education institutions. Although some may argue that this decree has also provided an ease of access to higher education in the country, others also argue that the decree led to a drop of quality of higher education in Lebanon as well as an excess of graduates that the local labor market cannot absorb. Today, Lebanon has 28 private universities that are legally recognized by the government, but only one public university, the Lebanese University (LU). Almost 45 percent of the total university students in the country are enrolled at the LU. Moreover, w ith the rise in the number

9 of private higher education institutions in the country, many ‘for profit universities’ in Lebanon are now recruiting inadequately prepared students. These students are being competed for by ins titutions whose own survival depends on the success in the market. This overcrowding of the higher education market has led to an increase in the student enrollment in universities. In fact, Lebanon has one of the highest higher education enrollment rates among the Arab States, with 30 percent of the Lebanese youth aged 20 - 24 are registered at one university or another in the country (UNDP, 2009).

This situation calls for an urgent move on the part of the higher education systems in the country. It is crit ical for universities to align both the education and the local and regional labor market needs in an attempt

to address the escalating issue of unemployment.

There is a large body of empirical evidence that shows that education is significant

for rapid ec onomic growth

and economic returns, but only if they are aligned with labor markets and state citizenships. The economic returns for any investment in education depend on the demand of labor (Dhillon and Yousef, 2009; Galal, 2002). Thus, investments in hig her education should be viewed as a mechanism to impact the country’s whole economy. Lebanon is characterized by a high level of education expenditures, estimated at 9.1 percent of the country’s GDP according to the 2004 household survey on expenditures on

education, which in turn is faced with a low demand for skilled labor (Nahas, 2009). Furthermore, gross private returns to education are very low, estimated at 9 percent in Lebanon compared to 21 percent worldwide (UNDP, 2009). Despite this low return to

education that is being experienced in the country, Lebanese still put forth private investments in education because of the perceived return they expect, which had proved true in the past. This paradox maybe also explained in a number of ways, one of whi ch is Lebanon’s export of labor. In order to move Lebanon towards a growing economy, it is essential

10 to employ the right mix of skills by investing in the Country’s human capital. Employment is viewed as the vehicle through which education is translated into growth and equitable distribution of this growth

(Psacharopoulos and Patrinos, 2002; Sen, 1997; Becker, 1993; Psacharopoulos, 1981, 1993, 1995; Schultz, 1971; Mincer, 1958) . Moreover, it is critical to examine the main sectors of the economy that are gr owing rapidly and determine employment needs

in these sectors. The political context in Lebanon coupled with the current economic crisis the country is facing along with the social insecurities, presents an even more pressing need for a resolution of the y outh unemployment crisis for a better future.

1.1.3

Institutional Context

The Lebanese higher education system originated in 1866 with the founding of the first institute of higher education in the region. El - Amine (199 7) categorized the growth and development of the Lebanese higher education system into three stages: Foundation, Nationalization, and War . El - Ghali (2008) proposed a fourth stage , the Revitalization S tage, spanning from the 1990 t o the present.

During the Foundation Stage, from 1866 to 1950, fore ign missionaries established two universities in Lebanon, the Syrian Protestant College, which in 1920 became the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the University of St. Joseph (USJ)

(El - Amine , 1997). The role and influence of AUB, founded in 1866 wh ich was known at that time as the Syrian Protestant College , as an institution of higher learning extended beyond Lebanon serving youth from across the Middle East region. In 1875, USJ was founded by a group of monks and has maintained strong ties with the University of Lyons in France (El - Amine 1997). T hree other higher education institutions were founded during this stage . The American Junior College for Women,

11 today known as the Lebanese American University (LAU), was founded in 1924, and followed by the

Lebanese Academy for Fine A rts (ALBA) in 1937. ALBA, was the only higher education institution that when found ed had no foreign affiliation. The third institution was the Near East School of Theology. This institution remains today as one of the few highe r education in the region to prepare students in the study of theology. The Lebanese University (LU) marked the beginning of the N ationalization Stage in 1951 (El - Amine , 1997). LU , as the only national university in the country , is a public, government op erated institution, with five campuses: East and West Beirut campuses, Tripoli campus, Sidon campus, and Zahle campus. LU is made up of 17 faculties with 47 branches in various locations across the country . While originally founded with the primary purpose

Full document contains 163 pages
Abstract: This qualitative study investigates how higher education institutions address youth unemployment in Lebanon. Using a descriptive study design, it maps out the issues and potential solutions within the environment the universities are embedded from the perspectives of leading policy makers in the field of higher education in the country. The policy perspectives of university rectors, government officials, and private sector employers are charted and then compared in relation to youth unemployment, jobless graduates and the higher education institutional role. The theoretical framework, which has been derived from the human capital literature and higher education institutional theories, guides analysis of interviews with institutional policymakers. The core study finding offers support for the compilation of fundamental data and official demographic statistics, which will influence any potential policy reform to be considered. Results suggest that there are differences and similarities between the different participant groups in identifying the roots, risks and responses to the problem of youth unemployment in the Lebanon. Additional findings point to a centrality of institutional role in the mitigation of the crisis of jobless graduates in the country. Among policy recommendations to follow the data compilation are joint efforts to address policy reform in the higher education subsector in Lebanon.