The McKinsey report, ordered in October 2017 by the government to help shaping Lebanon’s economic future, has finally been uploaded this January on the Ministry of Economy’s website. And the document is giving a hard time to the Lebanese education system !
To save you some reading – no less than 1 274 pages – here are the 8 most important comments made by the consulting firm. Some of them won’t come has a surprise, but the report has the advantage of summing them up and sharing some interesting numbers:
• A large skill gap exists in Lebanon, mainly due to lack of awareness of skills required by employers. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey:
– 55% of employers highlight a skill gap between the job requirement and the graduates acquired skills;
– 25% believe job seekers don’t know which skills employers are looking for;
Read also: 10 useful tips on writing a good Lebanese CV
• Nonetheless, Lebanon’s tertiary system is perceived as relatively strong especially due to the reputation of some of its top universities. The American University of Beirut (AUB) and Université Saint-Joseph (USJ) are both ranked among top 500 universities in the world. AUB is among the three best universities in the region.
• Lebanon has a high relative share of students enrolled in top universities like MIT and Harvard, in the US, or INSEAD, in France.
• Lebanese graduates are in demand by global firms in the region. This is reflected in the numbers of Lebanese graduates heading large corporations, such as the Consulting Construction Company (CCC), the largest construction company in the Middle East, Petrofac, a provider of oilfield services to the international oil and gas industry, or Dar Al Handasah, a Lebanese consulting organization for project design and management.
Moreover, “global consulting companies in the region are actively hiring Lebanese graduates”, adds McKinsey report’s authors – one of them being himself an AUB graduate, according to our information.
• Lebanese graduates are seen as successful entrepreneurs in the MENA region. In fact, Lebanon has the highest share of start-up founders in the region with AUB leading with its engineering graduates.
• Despite all that, the quality of the Lebanese education system is overall ranked as “poor” and trailing behind other Arab countries. “Primary and secondary education quality has been declining and is creating a negative perception on the overall education sector”, according to McKinsey.
The country is ranked ranking 68 out of 77 countries studied by the consulting firm, behind Bahrein and UAE and on the same level as Saudi Arabia or Jordan.
• Part of this lagging behind is due to an outdated curriculum, last updated in 1997.
• Public expenditure per student is low: under 1 000 dollars. That is way less than other countries in the region like Kuwait (over 13 000 dollars) and Qatar (between 10 000 and 13 000).