The global economic crisis has greatly impacted the economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, particularly fragile states with weak economies such as Lebanon. Young people today have missed the prosperous economy of the country witnessed in the past and are now faced with rather a dwindling economy in which they are expected to be productive members. The labor market constitutes a critical component of these countries’ economies. With unemployment on the rise, it is critical for policymakers to find remedies to the national malfunctions by particularly addressing issues pertaining to the youth, the productive group in the population. Higher education institutions can play a significant role as Lebanon struggles to create economic and social opportunities for young citizens that match their education and expectations.
Both monetary and non-monetary returns to investments have driven families in Lebanon to invest in their children’s education, particularly at the higher education level, regardless of the family’s socio-economic status. In the past, these investments have paid off as most of the educated youth were able to secure a job in the government or abroad, echoing the claims of researchers on human capital theory. However, this investment has been challenged in today’s economic climate, where expected returns are, most of the time, not being yielded through families’ investments in their children’s education.