Statement on the Symposium “Which Music Education for Lebanon? (3)” at UA | Antonine University

  • Statement on the Symposium “Which Music Education for Lebanon? (3)” at UA

    23 April 2024

    Organized by the Faculty of Music and Musicology (FMM) at Antonine University (UA), under the patronage of H.E. the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Judge Abbas Halabi, the Symposium “Which Music Education for Lebanon?” (3) took place at UA’s Hadat–Baabda Campus on April 18, 2024, in collaboration with the Arab Academy of Music (League of Arab States). The Symposium saw the participation of the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Deputy Mr. Hassan Murad, the Center for Educational Research and Development (CRDP), the General Secretariat of Catholic Schools, Al-Makassed Philanthropic Islamic Association, and Al-Mabarrat Charity Association. The Symposium aimed to achieve 3 objectives.

    Firstly, it sought to implement the principle of mandatory music education as an autonomous teaching subject in Lebanon’s public and private schools, following Decree No. 10227 (8/5/1997). By doing so, the Symposium aimed to emphasize the significance of music education and its inclusion in the curriculum.

    Secondly, the Symposium aimed to promote musical bilingualism in this education, ensuring an equal presence of both the traditional monodic modal system of the Mashriq and the Western polyphonic tonal system. This emphasis on musical bilingualism paralleled the linguistic bilingualism achieved through the education system’s integration of Arabic, French, and/or English. The symposium recognized the importance of incorporating both musical systems to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded music education.

    Lastly, the Symposium aimed to ensure the quality of music education despite the challenges that Lebanon has faced since 2019. It emphasized the importance of utilizing effective learning curricula and methodologies, implementing quality assurance standards, and employing well-qualified teachers to uphold the standards of music education.

    The opening session commenced with a presentation of the Symposium’s theme by Prof. Nidaa Abou Mrad, Dean of UA’s FMM. Mr. Jihad Saliba, General Curriculum Coordinator at the CRDP, delivered a speech, followed by an address from Dr. Kifah Fakhouri, General Secretary of the Arab Music Academy, and a key address by Fr. Michel Saghbiny, UA’s Rector. Furthermore, Dr. Bouchra Bechealany from the Lebanese University (LU) and Dr. Hayaf Yassine, Chairperson of UA’s Departments of General Musicology of Traditions and Arabic Art Music, presented the Levantine Music Education Method and showcased pedagogical sanṭūr learning videos produced by UA.

    The first panel discussion was centered on the theme “Achieving Musical Bilingualism in Curricula, Learning Methods, and Educator Training.” The panelists included Dr. Bouchra Bechealany from the LU, Dr. Hayaf Yassine from UA, Dr. Ibrahim Baltagi from the Lebanese American University (LAU), Dr. Joseph Abi Raad from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Mr. Ahmad Hamadani from Aṭwār Center, and Mr. Adel El Jurdi. Dr. Kifah Fakhoury moderated the session. Participants emphasized the importance of incorporating both the traditional monodic modal system of the Mashriq and the Western polyphonic tonal system into music education across all school years. They also stressed the need for the new curriculum, prepared by the CRDP, to reflect this duality and for teaching methods and educator qualifications to align with these standards.

    The second round table focused on the theme “Music Education in Schools in Times of Crisis.” The panelists included H.E. Mr. Hassan Mourad, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education; Dr. Hilda El Khoury, Director of Guidance and Orientation at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education; Fr. Youssef Nasr, Secretary General of Catholic Schools; Dr. Ghina Badawi, Director General of Education at Al-Makassed Islamic Schools; and Mr. Fayez Jalloul, Education Coordinator at Al-Mabarrat Association. Fr. Boutros Azar, Vice Superior General of the Antonine Maronite Order (OAM), moderated the discussion. Participants stressed the need to promote the adoption of music education in all Lebanese schools, with a dedicated weekly session. They also highlighted the importance of university qualifications for music teachers, based on quality assurance standards, and the recruitment of competent graduates in schools, even in times of crisis. At the end, Ms. Nathalie Abou Jaoude, Chairperson of the Department of Music Education at UA’s FMM, summarized the Symposium, followed by concluding remarks from Dr. Kifah Fakhoury.