All Lebanese schools are required to follow a prescribed curriculum designed by the Ministry of Education. Private schools, approximately 1,400 in all,may also add more courses to their curriculum with approval from the Ministry of Education. The main subjects taught are mathematics, sciences, history, civics, geography, Arabic, and at least one secondary language (either French or English). The subjects gradually increase in difficulty and in number. Students in Grade 11, for example, study up to eighteen different subjects.
The government introduces a mild form of selectivity into the curriculum by giving 11th graders choice between two “concentrations”: sciences, humanities, and 12th graders choose between four concentrations: life sciences, general sciences, sociology and economics, and humanities and literature. The choices in concentration do not include major changes in the number of subjects taken (if at all). However, subjects that fall out of the concentration are given less weight in grading and are less rigorous, while subjects that fall within the concentration are more challenging and contribute significantly to the final grade.