Designing the Lebanese public education budget: A policy document analysis

Sandra Baroudi

Abstract


Education has become a high-stakes, big-budget item worldwide and is often a major contributor to the country’s GDP. Each country’s public expenditure on education differs but there is a general recognition that education is a catalyst for country growth and development. In Lebanon, public sector education is viewed by the government as unproductive and the gap between private and public schooling is vast. The strong centralization and governance of Lebanese public schools' finance, management, and curriculum hinders the development of the public education sector and influences the performance of students and teachers. Although the total expenditure on education is high (about US$1.2 billion annually: approximately 2.45% of GDP and 6.4% of total public expenditure), Lebanon’s public expenditure on education is lower than expenditure by its neighbors. This study used an interpretive document analysis method to analyze the design of the public budget policy used to determine the allocation of funds to the Lebanese education sector’s development plan for the educational section. The study determined the uniform guidelines for the education’s budget design by comparing the design used by Finland with that of 33 other developing countries. Analysis of results found that the Lebanese public education development plan uses six of eight best-practice guidelines. This study is potentially useful for educational policymakers and researchers interested in educational budget policies design in low performing systems. Comparative document analysis will assist policymakers in Lebanon to follow benchmarked guidelines in resource allocation to improve the quality of education.


Keywords


Education budget policy; policy design; Lebanon public and private schools; centralized and decentralized education systems

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