Although there is no definition of inclusive education in the laws and policies that were reviewed, the vision of the Ministry of Education (MoE) through the Department of Education and Integration of disabled Groups is "Access to education for all without discrimination." The Ministry of Education focuses on "working to raise the efficiency of the integrated educational process for all students, including special groups, and providing special educational needs for that." The disabled groups are two categories: talented, outstanding and distinguished students and persons with disabilities.
Special Education Needs
The gifted and talented people and people with disabilities constitute this group.
The Department of Education and Integration of Disabled Groups (EIDG) at MoE works to “assist students with disabilities to complete their education within the public school system. DEIDG provides direct support to students and teachers and supplies them with tools, equipment and training necessary to do so” (p. 14). EIDG also works on preparing the appropriate school infrastructure, and providing tools and means of facilitation, textbooks, audio-visual and touch tools, and other means of learning for each segment of people with disabilities. Some evidence and data indicate that people with autism or mental disabilities can also access formal education (mainstream schools). Educational services for disabled children and students are provided through schools affiliated with the Ministry of Education and rehabilitation centers affiliated with the Social Solidarity Fund Authority. Some institutions also provide education services to gifted and distinguished students. The MoE provides centers for gifted and talented students located in some parts of the state. These centers serve students in academic years from the eighth to the twelfth grades. Specialized evaluation committees perform the selection and identification process of talented and distinguished students. The committee periodically determines the ratio of talent and intelligence of students through special assessments.
Efforts are underway to identify and respond to children's needs. For example, in October 2018, the National Technical and Vocational Education Authority (TEA) launched the Gift of Eyesight Campaign, which targeted a number of schools and performed eyesight checks for nearly 6,000 students. The aim of this campaign was to provide 500 glasses free of charge to students from low-income families.
In 2008, Libya signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and ratified it in February 2018. Libya also ratified the Convention against Discrimination in Education in 1973, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1989. It also ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993. In general, there are no clear policies regarding inclusive education and integration, but in view of the articles of the Constitutional Declaration, article (8) states that "the government must guarantee equal opportunities and strive to ensure education for every citizen. The statement in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the right to education (the draft constitution) has added the state's obligation to provide education according to individual capabilities without discrimination. Article (60) of the draft constitution-2017, highlights that “the state is committed to ensuring the educational rights of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others”. The MoE also issued a decree (276) of 2019, regarding the controls of study and examinations for pupils and students of disabled groups. The decree came in response to Article (88) of the Regulation of Public Education Affairs No. (779) of 2018, as well as Articles 46-54 that are concerned with organizing mechanisms and rules for household education for people with disabilities. The MoE is also working to approve the annual implementation plan, which includes a comprehensive educational vision and strategy to achieve the goals and objectives of the national education reform, while integrating the demands of the global goal and the SDG4 by 2030. This plan is published annually on the website of MoE.
Article (18) of Education Law No. 134 of 1970 states that the Ministry of Education and National Guidance will ensure the establishment of classes and schools necessary for the education of students with disabilities, where they would be receiving the appropriate instruction and curriculum. Parallel to this, Law (5) of 1987 regarding persons with disabilities stipulates that every person with disabilities, of all groups, has the right to education in proportion to his condition and the degree of his disability. In its fourteenth article, it states that minors with disabilities "are subject to compulsory education, and they have the right - and the duty - to receive this education at all times." Likewise, illiterate adults with disabilities "deserve literacy courses". The law also stresses the importance of attending this group with their peers who are not persons with disabilities "provided that the disabling conditions in both cases above are taken into due consideration when determining the curriculum and teaching issues." Finally, Article (16) states that a disabled person, who successfully passes the compulsory stage of education and expresses his desire to continue his studies, "is permitted to do so until the end of his position and ability." According to Law No. (5) of 1987, the law of the Persons with Disabilities defines a “medical approach to disability” that there is a need to diagnose and clear defects in body structure or function to receive services, including education (p. 188), and Article 15 Paragraph (6) for the care of talented people.
Libya acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1989. In parallel, Article (1) of the Compulsory Education Law (95) of 1975, states that primary and intermediate education is compulsory for all children, boys and girls. The MoE established the Women’s Support and Empowerment Office in 2017, to increase women's representation to assume leadership positions, support working-women in the ministry, monitor violations, study the status of women in the education sector, empower women and build their capabilities and competence. This measure aims to achieve qualitative and effective participation of Libyan women in the education sector. Mainstreaming gender equality in education, water, sanitation and personal hygiene (WASH) and child and youth protection programs is one of the main goals of international, regional and specialized organizations working in Libya, such as UNESCO, ICESCO, ALECSO, and UNICEF.
Ethnic and linguistic minorities
Arabic is the main language of teaching and education in Libya. The enforced laws and regulations allow teaching in other languages, such as English and French, in the disciplines that in need. English and French are also taught as a second or foreign language in the country. Article (2) of MoE decree (18) of 2013, approves teaching the Amazigh language in the speaking areas. It recognizes the rights of cultural and linguistic groups in Libya such as the Amazigh, Tebu and Tuareg, to teach and learn their languages by choice according. MoE is directly responsible for preparing the curriculum teachers, textbooks and other resources needed to implement this decree. In 2018 and 2019, the Ministry of Education took several measures to strengthen the teaching of the French and English languages in lower- and higher- secondary education, through several partnerships with recognized international organizations.
Displaced and migrant persons
In 2018, MoE issued a decision to establish a committee concerned with the affairs of the displaced and migrant persons inside and outside the country, by its resolution number (1421) of 2018. This committee was assigned the task of developing appropriate solutions and measures to address the conditions of the displaced people, such as students, teachers and MoE employees. The MoE decree and subsequent MoE circulars obliged education authorities at municipalities’ levels and universities to include students in schools close to their places of displacement, according to the academic levels, and to enable them to complete their academic year.
Some informal local reports also indicate that some regional and international organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration, UNICEF, and the Red Cross, have also participated in developing appropriate measures and procedures to facilitate the enrollment of children and youth in the formal educational system in public schools. In 2019, the Counseling Department implemented psychological support at the Ministry of Education, several lectures and interactive programs for displaced families in several displacement centers and shelters in the Western Region, including Tajoura IDPs, Souk Al-Jumah, Abu Salim, Ain Zara, Tripoli Center, and Andalus District. The presented lectures dealt with several aspects, the most important of which is support, psychological awareness, and educational assistance on how to deal with children during crises, armed conflicts and disasters. By the end of 2017, 1,393 children (including 726 girls and 667 young men) had benefited from individual career counseling and family support in Tripoli, Benghazi, Zintan, Sabha, and Sabratha, which contributed to enhancing their mental health and recovery. 30,394 children (16,607 girls and 13,787 children) in Tripoli, Ubari, Sabha, and Zintan benefited from school psychosocial support services.
Other groups at risk of exclusion
Article 50 of the 2017 draft constitution stipulates that the state provide education and care for children of "unknown parents" to ensure their integration into society. In 2017, MoE issued a decision to exempt the children of martyrs, missing persons, and people with disabilities from paying tuition fees.
EIDG department at MoE aims to integrate disabled and special groups into the education system in the state. The administration includes three different departments, namely: the Education and Integration Department, of disabled, the Studies and Research Department, and the Teachers Affairs Department. These departments are in charge of evaluating the current support for people with special needs in the national education system and developing new mechanisms and methods of work to help these groups to integrate and be inclusive.
The annual work plan of MoE of 2019 indicates in several aspects the importance of the learning environment and the necessity of adhering to some conditions and basics for the success of educational process. Objective (8) of the plan focuses on the importance of establishing and providing the necessary maintenance for schools, taking into account the requirements and means of facilitation for students with special needs, and gender-differences, by making available all the resources necessary for the educational process. Likewise, Objective (7) of the plan binds the competent authority responsible for building and maintaining educational institutions, to create a safe space in schools that is suitable for groups with disabilities. A public awareness campaign was launched under the slogan "It is my right to take the tests in a safe environment". The plan also focuses, in its Objective (7), on promoting activities that stimulate the provision of a sense of safety, security and psychological well-being for students, through the support of qualified school personnel.
During the previous years, many school infrastructure was damaged due to the crises that the state has been going through in several parts of the country, such as the Cities of Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte, and Sabha, have destroyed a large number of educational buildings and facilities. MoE stated that it had carried out comprehensive and light maintenance of many schools. In 2017, there were nearly 1,700 schools and educational facilities repaired. Schools that were maintained in 2018 was about 116. In year of 2019, about 20 comprehensive and light repairs of schools have took place. MoE also equipped about 400 mobile classrooms during the years 2010-2020, to fill the deficit in many areas, especially remote. All these efforts come within the framework of preparing the role of these schools in providing inclusive education for all segments of society, taking into account the differences and needs of different groups of students.
Curriculum, learning materials and ICTs
Goal (3) of MoE’s plan of 2019 stipulates the necessity of reviewing and improving the curricula for all levels of basic and secondary education, in order to help in its development and inclusiveness. MoE, through the Center for Educational Curricula and Research, is involved in preparing curricula for the general education stage, and producing all necessary textbooks and educational materials, including preparing and approving textbooks used in religious schools (Decision (1901) of 2017 regarding the formation of specialized committees to review and amend curricula, for basic education stage). Curricula for blind students have also been developed, and special books have been produced in the basic and secondary education stages during the academic years 2018/2019 and 2019/2020. Work is underway to develop educational curricula and books for students with intellectual disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome, and learning difficulties.
During the previous phase, MoE took several policies to ensure the continuation of the teaching and learning process for all segments of society during crises, disasters and epidemics. In light of the aggression on Tripoli and the global spread of the Corona epidemic, the Ministry of Education has adopted, during the 2019/2020 academic year, several practices and applications of information technology in education, the most important of which are:
- Recording educational lessons through four television channels for all years of schooling at the general education stage.
- On May 12, 2020, the Ministry launched a “Let’s Learn” platform, which is a distance-learning platform that provides an easy-to-access, interactive digital learning environment. The platform was designed by Libyan specialized programmers to raise the quality of the educational process.
- The launch of an interactive application for the educational platform on smartphones (Let’s Learn Mobile Application), to achieve a more dynamic interaction that allows students to use it outside of Internet services.
- The Ministry has succeeded in opening a visual educational channel that broadcasts educational programs around the clock, allowing students to follow daily lessons, follow the explanation of guiding questions, and provide educational lessons in areas that do not have Internet services.
- The Ministry of Education recently issued a new regulation regulating the pattern of e-learning in the higher education stage, according to Minister of Education Decision No. (354) of 2020. Work is underway on a project to issue a similar bylaw to regulate the pattern of E-learning for the general education stage.
- In the last three academic years, the Ministry approved the distribution of phone codes for all high school students to facilitate the mechanisms of communication with them, and to obtain free internet access packages to be used in following up on methodological lessons, and lessons for solving indicative questions.
The Ministry has established the Support and Assistance Center at the MoE center for Archives and Information. It aims in providing support and assistance to MoE’s students, parents and teachers, regarding the educational platform and educational lessons.
Article 27 of Presidential Council Resolution (decree (933) of (2017)) defines the specific role of teachers of special groups in the education of students with disabilities. It highlights the required support in helping to integrate students. The decision also stresses the need to assess the levels of student integration within the classroom. This assessment is done by evaluating the target students by the Higher Evaluation Committee at EIDG department of MoE. The committee was established by the Minister of Education, through his decision (1498) of 2017. Article 23 - Paragraph (6) of the decree highlights the role that psychological counselors in schools must play in providing support to all students, including disabled ones. In addition, paragraph (11) of MoE Action Plan (2019) emphasizes empowering women to play a more active role in all educational and executive levels of the education sector.
In the academic year 2018-2019, the Ministry of Education published the Annual Report of National Education Statistics and Indicators, in order to monitor the educational process as well as to monitor progress towards the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goal of Education (SDG 4).
The Libyan Ministry of Education also aspires to build an integrated educational management information system (EMIS). Currently, it is working with the participation and support of UNICEF to build an information system (EMIS) for the basic and intermediate education stages.