RALEIGH, North Carolina — Education in Libya has been severely affected by many events, beginning with military violence during the dictatorship of Muammar Qaddafi. After his rule came to a close in 2011, a civil war began in 2014, causing hundreds of schools to close and keeping 63,000 children out of school. The continued conflict led to infrastructure damage to schools and continued safety concerns, which deteriorated education in Libya even further. Mobile apps and online learning platforms aim to improve education in Libya.
Education During Crisis and Conflict
Many children were able to return to school after the end of the Qaddafi regime, however, some schools are in use as shelters for displaced families. Because of the lingering safety fears, many parents refuse to send their children to school on foot. In 2016, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) estimated that out of 1.2 million schoolchildren in Libya around 279,000 would miss classes.
Development of Mobile Apps for Learning
Entrepreneurs Aziza Al-Hassi, Tufaha Suhaim and Amine Kashroud made a major stride in the improvement of education in Libya through online resources. In 2018, they created the School Connect app which focuses on connecting teachers and parents to discuss information about the educational progress and behavioral performance of children. Some key issues in education in Libya stems from a lack of communication with parents so the app helps to bridge the gap. Teaming up with the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Tatweer Research for funding, School Connect expanded its reach in Libya and developed into an app called Panda. As a result of further development, about 10,000 students and parents have registered on the app from 30 schools in Libya. The app expanded even more due to the COVID-19 pandemic for students to be able to access academic content online.
The Ministry of Education in Libya and UNICEF implemented measures to increase the use of technology for online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, 1.3 million students transferred to online learning, most of them for the first time. The Ministry of Education and UNICEF focused on distributing technological resources like computers and tablets as well as ensuring internet connections and interactive learning to keep students engaged.
One of the online learning developments by the Ministry of Education in Libya is the 2020 launch of the Let’s Learn mobile app. The app is free of charge and helps students by providing access to lessons in the form of online videos and questions.
Further Education Reform
Education in Libya is also under reformation in other areas that do not involve online learning. In 2013, UNICEF and the Libyan government signed an agreement that set in place various policies to promote the improvement of the education system. The policies include support in teacher training, promotion of early childhood care and establishing inclusive systems in education. The policies also prioritize an education management information system and standardizing early learning.
UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in Libya also launched a back-to-school campaign in 2019. The initiative provided 40,000 students in Libya with learning and recreation materials. In addition, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education aim to provide essential remedial educational resources to children who are affected by the ongoing conflict in Libya. Other efforts by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education include providing teacher training on topics such as inclusive education and interactive learning. Through continued efforts, education in Libya can greatly improve.
– Simone Riggins