The Situation of Higher Education in Libya

August 01, 2016



Higher education is directly linked with the labour market in advanced countries. The outcomes of higher education are the most important ones on which the State builds its economy. Higher education is thus important and it is in a given country contributes to shaping the economic strength and the social development in that country.

This report aims at improving the situation of higher education, defining kinks and proposing appropriate policies to solve problems in this important sector.

First: Historical Overview of Higher Education in Libya

Higher education did receive attention neither during the Ottoman and Italian rules, nor under the British-French administrations after World War II. No higher education institutions were established during these eras and the first higher education institution was established almost four years after independence, when a Royal Decree providing for the establishment of the University of Libya was issued. The Faculty of Arts and Education in Benghazi was the first college founded in Libya and the number of colleges has increased over the years. Moreover, the faculties of Science, Engineering, Education and Agriculture were established in Tripoli while the Faculty of Commerce and Economics and the faculties of medicine and law were established in Benghazi between 1955 and 1968 with the help of UNESCO.

In addition, the Islamic University was established in Elbeida after the al- Sanusi Institute was transformed into an Islamic university dedicated for Sharia sciences. Between the time of the establishment of the University of Libya until 1968, over 16,000 students were enrolled in these faculties. After September 1969, the Gaddafi regime tried to make some changes to the situation of higher education in the country and decided to separate the University of Libya and its offices in Benghazi and Tripoli. Consequently, the result was the Universities of Benghazi and the University of Tripoli. Later, the names of the two universities were changed to Al-Fateh University in Tripoli and the University of Garyounis in Benghazi.  As a part of expansionary measures, other universities such as Sebha University and the Seventh of April University in Azzawia were also established. 

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