Education in Libya

Libya’s population of approximately 5.5 million includes 1.7 million students, over 270,000 of whom study at the tertiary level. 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 stands at 84.

Libya became independent in 1951 after 40 years of occupation by European powers. The country had been an Italian colony until the defeat of the Axis forces in North Africa in 1942. From 1942 until 1951 it was under temporary British military rule. Under the monarchy (1951-1969), all Libyans were guaranteed the right to education. Schools at all levels were established, and old Koranic schools were reactivated and new ones opened, lending a heavy religious cast to Libyan education. School enrollments rose rapidly, particularly at the primary level; vocational education was introduced; and in 1955 the first Libyan university was established in Benghazi. Total school enrollment rose from 34,000 on the eve of independence in 1951 to about 360,000 at the time of the 1969 revolution. During the 1970s, teacher training was pushed in an effort to replace Egyptian and other non-Libyan teachers who made up a majority of teaching personnel…read more

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