Aid & Development

Teachers in Libya gather to discuss ways of improving education in their country

North Africa

A workshop was organised to discuss reforms to the education system in Libya, especially with regards to English-language teaching.

Education in Libya has taken a major hit since the country entered into its period of unrest and civil war. Many parents are afraid of sending their children to school due to the lack of security in many parts of the country as well as the rapidly falling educational standards.

More than a million children in Libya used to benefit from free education offered by thousands of public schools. Education is compulsory until the 9th grade and parents were prosecuted if their children did not attend school. As a result, Libya had one of the strongest educational standards in the region. However, the war has changed this, with many Libyans still displaced and children out of school, standards have dropped.

Many public schools across the country have been turned into shelters for displaced people who have nowhere to go, especially or families in Benghazi and Sirte. The latter was under ISIS control for two years before being driven out by local Libyan forces. As a result of the fighting, more than 250 schools were abandoned and remained derelict.

In Sirte, most of the entire population estimated to be 100,000 were forced to leave the city amidst the intense fighting and air campaign against the militant group. In Tripoli, schools are overcrowded, with class sizes averaging 40 children, and with an absence of books exacerbating the problem.

In Benghazi, it is estimated that more than half of all school buildings have been damaged or completely destroyed because of more than two years of fighting between the Libyan armed forces and extremist groups.

Many schools across the country still lack the necessary equipment to provide children and students with proper education. The lack of electricity in large parts of the country has also made conditions to teach and learn more difficult.

According to UNICEF, the total number of schoolchildren in Libya this year is about 1.2 million, and out of this number, around 279,000 will not be able to attend to lessons.

Lack of security, the sporadic eruption of violence and political feuding have brought havoc to every aspect of life in Libya, but the education system is the main victim with far-reaching consequences for the entire population.