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A Study on Libya and its Education System

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 5458 words Published: 28th Apr 2017

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Libya is an Arabic country located in North Africa on the Southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The economy of Libya is highly dependant on oil as it has many reserves of oil. The total area of the country is approximately 1,759,540 square kilometres (i.e. 679.182 sq miles). It also has the longest coastline among the littoral states of the Mediterranean Sea with a length of approximately 1.955 km. Libya is surrounded by a number of countries: Egypt in the east, Sudan in the south-east, Chad and Niger in the south, Algeria in the west and Tunisia from the north-west, and it is a member state in a number of organizations, regional groups and international organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab Maghreb Union, League of Arab States, Non- Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and OPEC (Oxford Business Group, 2008; The People’s Committee for Education, 2001). Libya’s population is approximately 6,310,434 which is considered a small number compared with the country’s area. This number also includes tens of thousands of non-citizens who migrated to the country in search of work opportunities, particularly after the discovery of oil and the attractive offers provided to foreign professionals, especially at the universities and higher education institutions (Hanley and Mayfield, 2001).

1.1.2 Education in Libya:

The Libyan Government has embarked on a developmental program aiming to the expansion, upgrading and modernisation of its fundamental infrastructure, where education is of high priority (Hanley & Mayfield, 2001). The Libyan secretary of education (2000) stresses that education, health and social services are the highest priority for Libya’s infrastructure development programme.

According to Hanley & Mayfield (2001), The Gaddafi Development Foundation has taken the responsibility for developing education system and infrastructure in Libya, accordingly 5,000 existing schools and colleges directed to be modernised and enhanced. This enhancement requires various equipment and expertise at all levels to create model educational establishments for the future Libyan generation. In addition, their agenda will include the following points:

Improvement of the curriculum in schools and universities including the scientific journals, periodicals and books.

Opening the door for merging Libyans with the global community through many programs, such as providing a great number of young Libyans the opportunity to continue their studies abroad and to gain international qualifications.

The initiation of an 18 month plan to provide one million computers to one million Libyan children.

The initiation of a program to connect Libya with global educational community through broadband Internet.

Every major hospital will become ‘an educational hospital’ managed by an already established international hospital that will provide training of hospital management and process etc for the next five years with 20 hospitals currently targeted for this purpose.

Initiation of one million companies for one million Libyans. To do this, our young entrepreneurs need to be trained and enabled to help them be successful in their new ventures.

The establishment of e-government where registering a new company will not take more 30 minutes to complete.

Opening the door for cooperation between local universities/educational interests and international educational interests through cooperative contracts and memorandum of understandings.

Gaining funding for the educational development of Libya through donations, and various forms of foreign investment.

Offering full scholarships to the top students in the country to 990 students for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Most scholarships are in the medical and engineering field. The major countries considered are mainly the UK, North America (Canada and the USA), Malaysia, Egypt and Australia.

In academic year 1975/76 the number of university students was estimated to be 13,418. Today, this number has increased to more than 200,000, with an extra 70,000 enrolled in the higher technical and vocational sector. The rapid increase in the number of students in the higher education sector has been mirrored by an increase in the number of institutions of higher education. Since 1975 the number of universities has grown from two to nine and after their introduction in 1980, the number of higher technical and vocational institutes currently stan From its inception the revolutionary regime placed great emphasis on education, continuing and expanding programs begun under the monarchy. By the 1980s, Libya had made progress, but the country still suffered from a lack of qualified teachers and enrolments in vocational and technical training lagged. Both of these shortcomings have resulted in a reliance on foreign-born professionals to fill teaching posts, technical positions in many state industries and service sector jobs in fields such as health care (Secretariat of Education, 2000).

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In 1980, to redress the balance, Libya enacted what was known as the “New Educational Structure.” School curriculums were restructured in favor of technical subjects and, in the humanities, Arabic language and Koranic education were particularly emphasized. The study of English from the seventh grade was also initiated. At the high school level the plan enabled the creation of specialized vocational and technical schools in addition to traditional academically oriented schools. The new structure also required the establishment of technical and vocational education at the tertiary level, which has led to the creation and strong growth in the number of higher technical and vocational institutions In March 2000, the General People’s Committee for Education and Vocational Training was dissolved and all of its responsibilities transferred to the regional people’s committees (Secretariat of Education, 2000). General education:

According to the Economist (2009), most of the governments of the Arab countries are well aware that their university and school systems were and still doing badly, Arab governments including Libya have been struggling to improve their education infrastructure and facilities. In 1996, students were estimated to constitute 27% of the Libyan population, where the number of university students was 13,418, a considerable number of those students are immigrant learners who entered Libya with their families, or as employees and then joined the education institutions. Currently, the numbers of students in primary and secondary education are rapidly increasing driving the number of university students to exceed 200,000, in addition to about 70,000 who joined the technical and vocational sectors. The strategy to redress the balance which called the New Educational Structure, has been implemented in 1980, consequently, the schools curriculum was reformed in order to introduce and emphasize technical subjects in addition to Arabic language and Quran’s studies and humanities. The strategy intervention at the secondary education emphasised the launch of vocational and technical schools beside the traditional academic schools. This strategy also emphasised the initiation of technical and vocational institutions in different regions of the country which has contributed considerably to the development of these regions (Country Review 2006; and El-Hawat, 2003).

The previous educational system in Libya was following a 6-3-3 pattern for the primary, technical and pre-university education (i.e. primary stage begins at age 6 and continues for six years, followed by three years of preparatory school and three in secondary school),while the current system follows 2 nursery, 9 basic education and 3 or 4 secondary education according to the specialisation (Clark, 2010). Eventually, successful candidates get “General Secondary School” certificates or alternatively, in the case of technical school a diploma. In addition, there is a training/vocational branch that follows the preparatory cycle and lasts for two or four years. Those who successfully pass with sufficient high marks can proceed into higher education that is provided by sixteen institutions, nine universities and seven advanced learning institutions (Al Gaamatti, 2005). Moreover, in our time, and according to Sophie (2009), the Libyan government is working on one of the biggest projects in the country. The government is embarking on the world’s largest university building programme for the purpose of motivating the next generation of education seekers to choose to study and work at inside Libya rather than travelling to other countries. Another reason for this project is to reduce the large number of intelligent Libyan students who have left the country in the last few decades in order to gain higher university degrees oversees. As part of this project, and in 2006, the Education Ministry created a five-year strategic plan running from 2008-13 to upgrade the country’s educational facilities and infrastructure. In addition in 2007, the Organisation for the Development of Administrative Centres, which is a state department that manages strategic infrastructure projects, declared its intention to build or enlarge 25 Libyan universities. New strategic joint venture and partnerships between a number of Libyan universities and well-recognized foreign universities were made in order to enhance education. For example, the partnership that was created between Sebha University in Libya and Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University in the UK, which offers high-level teaching and experience from its Institute of Petroleum Engineering. Higher Education in Libya:

As mentioned earlier in this report, and according to Sophie (2009), the rapidly growing numbers of students at all levels of education required an expansion in the numbers of education institutions, especially the higher education institutions. For example, the number of universities has increased from two universities in 1975 to nine in 2003, while, the number of higher technical and vocational institutes has reached 84 since their initiation in 1980. The first university initiated in Libya in 1951 after the country’s independence, in Benghazi. It had only one college of Arts and Education, until the Faculty of Science was established in Tripoli in 1957. The main objectives behind initiating universities at that time was not more than providing teachers of intermediate and secondary schools with training, and building the capacities of the government employees (People’s Committee for Education, 2000).

These colleges were followed by the initiation of the college of Economics and Commerce in 1957, followed by the College of Law in 1962, the College of Agriculture in 1966. By 1967, the Libyan higher education witnessed a significant expansion when the College of Advanced Technical Studies and the Higher College of Teachers’ Training. The expansion continued with the initiation of the College of Medicine in 1970, Al-Bayda Islamic University in, and with the flourish of oil production, the Faculty of Oil and Mining Engineering was founded 1972. The Libyan University was divided into two universities in 1973: Tripoli University and Benghazi University. Currently, these universities have been expanding and named El-Fateh University in Tripoli and Gar-Yunis University in Benghazi. But, since 1981 the number of universities has been increasing in order to serve the growing number of students enrolling in higher education, the universities were subject to new educational management policies and accordingly the number of universities increased to 13 in 1995. These successive expansions of higher education in Libya required the country to encourage the migration of skilled and intellectual people to migrate to Libya and join its education institutions (Al-Shapani, 2001).

As such, higher education in Libya is offered in both public and private universities, as well as higher institutes, and since 2000 the people’s committees, have been responsible for the management of education in the Libyan regions, where the overall management of educational policies in the country is the responsibility of the General People’s Committee (El-Hawat, 2003). Higher education in Libya is managed by the Higher Education People’s Committee, while each university is managed by its own University People’s Committee with a secretary assigned to manage the university and deans as head of faculties and departments, each head department is a member in the People’s Committee of faculty, while the secretaries of the faculty people’s Committee are automatically members in the university People’s Committee, where as there are People’s Committees for the students established to manage the students’ affairs and activities (Secretariat of Education, 2000). Higher education institutes and university colleges were introduced by the private sector and local public administration (Shabiat), were the higher education policies in Libya permitted that in order to handle the growing number of students at the age of university, however, to the local public administration sponsors of these private higher education institutes were responsible to mobilise their financial resources from local community sources, while the government had no any obligations towards the private sector. As a result, more than five private universities were built by the local administration authorities during 1997-2000 (Al falugi, 2008).

1.2 The learners of immigration:

1.2.1 The global context:

Migration all over the world has become a distinguished feature and characteristic of globalization (IOM, 2003). That flows of immigrants are in most cases a response in one hand to the low income offers and limited employment opportunities at the countries of origin, and on the other hand to better opportunities and attractive offers at the countries of destination (Kuptsch and Pang, 2006). Thus the process of migration is thought to have joint benefits for both the sending countries of the migrants and the receiving countries; these benefits include sharing the capacities of the innovative migrants and disseminating knowledge among nations, while on the other hand the financial contribution of those intellectual migrants to their countries of origin is no doubt a considerable contribution to the national income, however those migrants themselves and their children achieve further benefits when they settle in the country of destination and become part of its social and education system, as such they become learners of immigration. These flows of immigrants have enforced the receiving countries to adjust their educational management regulations and laws from being restrictive and hindering to become flexible for the immigrants to integrate. (Kuptsch and Pang, 2006). These attempts of integrating the immigrants in the education systems of the receiving countries include some programmes designed by the receiving countries specially to facilitate the immigrant students in learning the language and become totally integrated in the society (Winzhen, 2000).

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Recently, immigration is best used by several countries to enhance various public and private sectors, to build the capacities of the local labour force, to share knowledge and experience, to learn from successful and best practices, and to produce new generations of intellectual and skilled citizens. However the trend of learners of immigration is prominent in several countries of the developed world, supported by the immigration schemes launched some developed countries for various political, economic, demographic and other reasons. Several countries have utilised their repute status in different aspects such as the rich economy, educational reputation, etc… to attract the most intelligent people in the world, where the integration of their children in the educational system of the receiving countries is a big incentive and attractive offer, where the new trend in this regard is to utilise the incentives instead of affording easy procedures and limiting the restrictions (Kuptsch. and Pang, 2006). In this regard, in 2002 Norway implemented a scheme which provided high skilled foreigners three months permit to stay as job seekers, so that they can enter Norway to seek for job, and whenever they have found job and decided to settle they may bring their families to settle with them and then join the education in Norway (Kuptsch and Pang, 2006).

Among these schemes, the trend is more obvious in the United Kingdom, where its Programme of Highly Skilled Migrant launched in November 2006 witnessed a major amendment, so that a new point system was implemented to select those applicants of the most highly qualifications, who can contribute to the country’s national economy, this programmes has provided the highly skilled migrants permit to enter and seek job or establish their own business in a period of two years (HSMP, 2009). The highly skilled migrants system has also been adopted by Canada where it was significant to stimulate the highly skilled and talented in the developing countries to immigrate to Canada. Other developed countries have implemented similar different policies to encourage immigration, such as The United States and Australia. However, although the components of these systems and their procedures of implementation are different, they show sound success in attracting the most qualified people (Winzhen, 2000) and in integrating their children in the education systems without being hindered by linguistic or cultural barriers.

1.2.2 The Libyan context:

The term “learners of immigration” used in this study refers to the immigrants to Libya who then decide to study in the country. This include the children of immigration that then enter the school system, as well as the adults who move to Libya as migrants whether they are social migrants or economic migrants, and then may be work or may not be working. They then decide to enter University education as full time or part time students.

No doubt it needs to understand the challenges that the educational system and the educational management may face when various people from various cultures join the same educational system. Educational managers who are involved in planning and development of managerial thoughts and knowledge production should be aware of such challenges and how to manage and organise through official channels in a framework that is a part of an existing system structures such as colleges and universities. These channels provide studies for academics and allow them to go for further research which seeks to achieve and acquire skills by examining the output field in order to help to determine the shape and nature of the theory for enhancing the effectiveness of the educational system in order to link between the real local life options and intellectual work taking into consideration the dynamics of the corporate strategies that could facilitate the integration of the immigrant learners in the education system (Gunter, 2003).

In this trend of learners of immigration, Libya is not an exception; as such, the period of the oil boom in 1963 witnessed a significant augmentation in educational expenditure, and in the period between the seventies and eighties, the Department of Education in Libya stimulated skilled and intellectual migrants to come with their families and settle in the country through offering attractive contracts (Al gaamatti, 2005). In this regard, as suggested by The Libyan General People’s Committee for Education (2005), The Libyan policy to stimulate intellectual migrants is supported by a number of pulling factors that is capable to stimulate professionals and talented migrants to enjoy comfortable life and settlement in Libya. These pulling factors which may distinguish Libya and encourage the intellectual migrants to prefer from other countries of the region may first include proximity of the Libya’s location to Europe and the enormous opportunities there, alongside with the offered relatively high income and competitive contracts, minimum to exempted taxes, simple procedures of visa and travel procedures, efficient network of telecommunication, high levels of security and safety for the migrants and their families, and low risk of racism and social discrimination as well as the easy integration in the education.

The Libyan government implemented a policy in the early 1980s that encouraging intellectual immigrants and professionals from the region and from all over the world, so as to improve the capacities in different sectors of the government, with special consideration to the education sector which is believed to be the potential producer of intelligence and prosperity through the production of intensive knowledge and the achievement of an improved educational management. Beside the attractive offers provided to the intellectual immigrants, that policy aimed to ease the employment visa procedures for those who acquire the targeted skills and experiences.

The policy of open doors implemented by Libya in the 1980s alongside with the oil boom at that period attracted vast investments to the country and large numbers of migrants stimulated to immigrate to the country by the employment opportunities created and the competitive offers afforded, and the education opportunities provided for them and their families.

It is obvious that, the Libyan Government didn’t adopt any of the aforementioned schemes, however the Libyan Ministry of Education and the Immigration Authorities implemented a policy in early 1980s to encourage foreigners to enter Libya and work in its different sectors, with special consideration to the education sector, this policy has a significant impact on the flows of immigrants attracted to Libya at that time, whereas these flows continued until the beginnings of this decade where the international political and economic embargo took place and the subsequent sanctions affected these flows and reduced its level (Al falugis, 2008).

1.3 Educational management

1.3.1 The concept of educational management:

No doubt, management is an essential requirement for every human activity. It comprises the scientific research methods in all domains such as planning to achieve revenue with reliance on talent and intellectual creativity. Also, the concept of management is not different from the concept of control in terms of the general framework of the management process. But this difference can obviously be noticed in the application and practice. In the literature, there seems to be many definitions for management. For example, Druker (1974) described management as one of the most significant innovations of the 20th century, even though the roots of disciplines of management go back 150 years. Management is a multi-purpose function that aims to manage a business, manages managers and work. Management is also tasks, people and discipline.

The field of educational management, according to Gunter (2002) and Bush (1995), is an area of study and practice that is mainly related to the operation of educational organizations and mainly concerned with the aims and objectives of education. These aims and objectives provide the crucial sense of direction to underpin the management of educational institutions (Bush, 2006). The field of educational management is also a term that is used to describe and understand intellectual work. This field of study was basically developed from what was known in the UK and internationally as “Educational administration”. Management of educational practice is as old as the human being. However, it has been growing gradually with the development of knowledge of human beings until it became a science in its own which has its theories and practice. In the past thirty years, however, the field of education management has grown rapidly in many countries especially in England and Wales, with members positioning themselves in all parts of the education system (Gunter, 2000). Elements of educational management may include but not limited to the following subjects: planning; management; coordination; routing; follow-up and calendar (Angus, 1994). In addition, education management focuses on a number of aspects such as: developing female talents in the field of educational management; understanding the purpose of competition; identifying the differences between leadership and management; thinking of what and how directors of education do; trying to understand the school as one way of educational management; and focusing on values and the basics of developing educational management.

During the 1950s, there was no evidence for formal educational management structure; nevertheless, there were a president, deputy president and a secretary of mystery. This was the norm until 1956 when Burnham established the hierarchy of management and created all other managerial positions. It was believed that management includes the following aspects: understanding; empowerment; identification of what could be better and change (Gunter, 2002). Management was not identified as a science until the late 19th century. Bush (2003) stated that “Educational management as a field of study and practice was derived from management principles first applied to industry and commerce, mainly in the United States. Theory development largely involved the application of industrial models to educational settings. As the subject became established as an academic discipline in its own right, its theorists and practitioners began to develop alternative models based on their observation of, and experience in, schools and colleges. By the twenty-first century the main theories of education management have either been developed in the educational context or have been adapted from industrial models to meet the specific requirements of schools and colleges” (Bush, 2003).

In addition, Bush (2003) classified the main theories of educational management and identified six major models: (formal, collegial, political, subjective, ambiguity and cultural) which “have been subject to a degree of empirical verification in British education” (Bush, 2003). Whereas, his classification may differ with other scholars’ views. However, his models remain significant in the literature of educational management. Moreover, “Educational leadership and management has progressed from being a new field dependent upon ideas developed in other settings to become an established discipline with its own theories and significant empirical data testing their validity in education. This transition has been accompanied by lively argument about the extent to which education should be regarded as simply another field for the application of general principles of leadership and management or be seen as a separate discipline with its own body of knowledge” (Bush, 2003).

1.4 Education management and learning diffusion

In general, and according to Gunter (2003), any inquiry into learning diffusion and knowledge production requires interaction with, a description of, as well as understanding of the different people who receive the learning. Knowledge workers both use and produce knowledge creation and development of thoughts and knowledge could be managed and organised through official channels in a framework that is a part of an existing system structures such as colleges and universities to suit the diversity of cultural backgrounds among the learners. These channels provide studies for learners and allow them to go for further to achieve and acquire similar skills by examining the output field in order to help to determine the shape and nature of the theory for enhancing the effectiveness of the educational system in order to integrate both the native learners and those who joined the education system recently taking into consideration the importance of implementing the dynamic appropriate strategies.

Many people focus on management before moving into higher education which looks for the forms of activity by reading a magazine or a book and then understanding what is happening. Then allowing new insights to open the way for alternative practices since the academic perception is concentrated on the ability to analyse and become creative before the ability to train (Gunter, 2003). Based on the abovementioned discussion, it can be concluded that: there is a need to consider the link between development and emerging phenomena; such as learners of immigration and educational management; evolving relationship between theory and analysis in the field of educational management; follow the management approach that takes into consideration the changing culture and emerging phenomena; what knowledge and skills those have the potential to be improved via migration; and the role of field experiences and views of academics on the effect of migration on the improvement of educational management.

1.5 Migration and educational management in Libya

The interest in management has led to the expansion of educational management and the educational improvement in Libya (Al Jiar, 2007). Migration has a significant impact throughout the Libyan history, the origin of the term ‘Libya’ which was used to describe the region of North Africa which is located between Egypt and Tunisia, was derived from the Libyan tribes ‘Lebo’ that inhabited this region for thousands of years, emigrated from Crete, the Greek islands around the 8th century BC. The Greeks founded the major cities in Libya which were the most prosperous cities in Africa in that era. The main ethnic groups in Libya are the Arabs and Berbers, who make up about 97% of the population, the rest belong to various ethnicities.

However, historical records indicate that Libya was inhabited by ancient tribes of the Phoenicians who migrated from the coast of the western Mediterranean. In the 5th century AD, Libya was concurred by the Vandals and then the Byzantines, while in the 6th century AD, Libya became a Muslim territory. In the 7th century AD, the capital city of Tripoli was occupied by the Spaniards and then the Knights of St. John and was then liberated by the Ottoman Turks. The significant and noticeable impact of migration on the Libyan education was evident during the beginning of the Ottoman Empire occupation to Libya in 1865 which updated and developed many aspects of life both at the headquarters and the rest of the Caliphate. Moreover, the Knowledge Act was promulgated in 1869, to be a regular approach in schools which relied mainly on charity contributions of parents for the purpose of educating their children; bearing in mind that the curricula used both Arabic and Turkish languages and the length of study was only three years. Afterwards, the Italians occupied Libya, changing the medium of education from Arabic to Italian. On the other hand, there were the Qura’n schools initiated by the Arab migrants, which concentrated on the Arabic language and religious studies. This instability of education resulted in high levels of illiteracy in Libya (UNESCO, 2002).

Although, no accurate estimates are available about the numbers of immigrant learners in Libya, however, it is known to be considerable number in different educational level (Al falugi, 2008). Thus this study will attempt to provide an estimation of those immigrant learners, and its focus will be on the universities and higher education. Nasser Nations University was established in to accept the foreign students especially from the African and Arab countries, and then in it was opened for the Libyan students as well. The University has a special office to supervise the university’s cultural program that is concerned with the University’s relations with educational institutions and follow-up agreements with universities outside Libya. Cultural and scientific agreements were held with:

1. University of Nouakchott and the


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