Further to a request by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the World Bank, and UNICEF have agreed to repurpose grant funding to support productivity allowance payments on an exceptional basis for the academic year 2022-2023 to eligible teachers and school personnel suffering from the severe economic and financial crisis in Lebanon.
The Teachers’ Productivity Allowance Program, announced by the Minister of Education and Higher Education (MEHE; Circular 147/م/ 2023), will support eligible public-school teachers and school personnel who attend schools according to the attendance schedule published in the MEHE’s Circular 147/م/ 2023 on March 2, 2023, and deliver lessons in the first and second school shifts. Further donor financing is contingent upon three commitments from the Government of Lebanon: (i) Verification that only eligible personnel receive the allowance; (ii) Government of Lebanon contributes financing to the program, and (iii) Government of Lebanon implements efficiency measures that will allow the government to self-finance personnel adequately and timely in the next school year.
To ensure that only eligible public-school teachers and school personnel benefit from these allowances, MEHE has established risk mitigation measures that must be put fully in place. For that purpose, MEHE, the Regional Education Offices, and school principals must ensure that teachers and personnel information is entered accurately and timely into the Schools Information Management System (SIMS), which includes the teacher’s general information, teaching days and hours (for contractual teachers). A Third-Party Monitoring Agency has also been commissioned by MEHE to verify teachers’ attendance and delivery of lessons and confirm that these allowances are being provided only to eligible teachers and school personnel.
In early March 2023, a first payment of the productivity allowances to teachers for the month of October 2022 was released on a retroactive basis from the grant financing. We now urge the Government of Lebanon to prioritise the transfer of the allocated advance from the treasury (Decree number 11046 issued by the Council of Ministers on 15/02/2023), so the productivity allowance payments can continue until the end of the school year to ensure that schools remain open, and children have access to learning.
We also encourage the Government of Lebanon to engage on reforms related to efficiency, transparency, and sustainability of the education sector to ensure learning continuity in subsequent academic years. Without increased government funding, increased transparency of public expenditures, and efficient utilization of personnel to teach students, it is likely that the Government of Lebanon will not be able to pay teachers in an adequate and timely manner next school year, risking another year with strikes and school closures.
The UK FCDO, the World Bank and UNICEF have been, and remain committed, to supporting the education sector in Lebanon, and ensuring all children get back to school as soon as possible after 3 years of learning discontinuity.