- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
Libya is in a transitional phase as it attempts to recover from the aftermath of the 2011 revolution, which was followed by a civil war and the reformulation of its government. During the civil war taking place between 2014 and 2020, attacks on schools and the threat of violence led to the closure of educational facilities and resulted in children’s exclusion from the education system. As of 2020, 8% of state and 14% of non-state schools were not operational because their buildings or physical infrastructure was damaged due to armed conflict or because of their use as shelters for internally displaced persons in need of emergency shelters (p. 13). Over the past three decades, education has been a priority, and the state has invested enormously in it. The provision of education is government-led, with little non-state sector and non-governmental organization involvement. Some crucial challenges have persisted, notably regarding the reliability of education data, quality (content and relevance) of education, and attention to early childhood development and preschool education. No definition of non-state actors in education was found in the 1992 Law No. 1 concerning higher education and the 2011 Law No. 211 on free education.
The 1970 Law No. 134 on education states that studying in non-state schools is equivalent to studying in state schools. The primary regulation available on non-state education is the 2011 Law No. 211, whereby Article 1 defines a non-state educational institution as an “entity established by qualified educators” to carry out educational activity in various educational stages. Those who can establish such institutions in accordance with the law include individuals, partnerships, or joint-stock companies intending to contribute to educational policies. The definition further encompasses educational institutions established for the children of individuals working in embassies and political missions.
Education is compulsory from age six to 13, including elementary school (ages six to 11) and secondary education (ages 12 to 17). The state is further responsible for building and establishing schools, institutes, universities, and educational and cultural foundations. As of 2020, 8% of state schools were not operational because their buildings or physical infrastructure was damaged due to armed conflict or because of their use as shelters for internally displaced persons in need of emergency shelters. The number of public schools and the number of pupils enrolled in these schools were not found.
Non-state managed, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state funded, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state education is also known as “free education”. It has grown in demand, especially after the recent armed conflict. As of 2020, 14% of non-state schools were not operational due to armed conflicts.
Independent, non-state schools
Independent schools follow the national curriculum determined by the Ministry of Education and the language taught in these schools is Arabic.
As of 2018, 812 non-state independent schools were listed as registered by the Ministry of Education, in accordance with Ministerial Decree No. 425 of 2018. However, the exact number of independent religious schools operating remains unclear. The 2011 Law No. 211 (Art. 78) further identifies non-state foreign schools that teach accredited, non-Libyan curricula to students. Non-state foreign schools differ from foreign embassy schools, which are categorised under the 2011 Law No. 211 (Art. 47) as schools operated by embassies of foreign countries in Libya. Such embassies must first obtain permission from the General People's Committee for External Contact and International Cooperation and submit evidence of the approval of the Ministry of Education in the foreign country to open the school approved by the Libyan embassy in the country. In light of the closure of multiple embassies and foreign schools, such as the American Libyan School, due to the conflict, fewer foreign-operated schools exist as of 2021.
Libya does not refer to “low fee” independent non-state schools in official governmental documents.
State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools
No information was found.
Contracted, non-state schools
No information was found.
According to the 2010 Law No. 544 and the 2011 Law No. 211, (Ch. 3), homeschooling or home education is regulated under non-state education law. Home-schooling is available to all Libyan students based upon the condition that at least one family member has an educational or university qualification. Parents who wish to register their child as a home-schooled student must do so at their respected school district. Home-schooling students will have to take a final year assessment with a state school in their district to qualify them to move to the following year.
In accordance with the 2011 Law No. 211 (Art. 30), families that choose to home-school their children in the primary education stage are to be granted an annual financial stipend to cover the costs of home-schooling toward the end of the school year. This amount is to be determined by the General People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research in accordance with the approved annual budget.
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
No information was found.
According to Ministerial Decree No. 425 of 2018, a list of names of schools was released whereby each was categorized as meeting one of four levels: 1) first-tier schools that meet the model standard, 2) second-tier schools that are acceptable but require improvement, 3) third-tier schools that can continue operating in 2018/19 but will be closed in the academic year 2019/20 unless their standard improves, and 4) fourth-tier schools that are no longer permitted to operate. Approximately 70 schools were slated for closure for the 2018/19 academic year, many of which were religious schools classified as fourth-tier (no longer permitted to operate).
The Ministry of Education is responsible for overseeing all education levels, including non-state and state education, with separate departments for the pre-primary, primary, secondary, and higher education levels. However, the interim government established a Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in March 2021.
The Private Education Department of the Ministry of Education is responsible for the accreditation and supervision of non-state education institutions and the administrative units associated with it, including coordinating their work and following up on their performance and development. It is further involved in implementing the state's policy in relation to non-state education and proposing study plans, scientific decisions, and training programs for such educational institutions. It also has a home-schooling office responsible for the supervision of home-schooling students. The Ministry of Education has formed a council consisting of Islamic scholars to revise religious education in schools' curricula. The country does not seem to have a religious ministry that takes decisions on non-state education. In parallel, the Special Education Department aims to implement the state's policy and directions in special private education; follows up the implementation of study plans, scientific courses and approved training programmes for special private education institutions; evaluates special private education institutions and suggests ways to develop them; and follows up the procedures for accrediting special private education institutions.
Vision: The education vision is to provide equal and high-quality educational opportunities for all members of society to be able to effectively contribute to sustainable development and actively participate in the national economy. The main vision of the Private Education department for primary and secondary non-state education is to provide equal educational opportunities and high-quality education and be able to contribute to sustainable development and effective participation in the new Libya.
Pre-school or early childhood education is optional and is designed for children that are below the age of 6. Only 9% of Libyan children between the ages of 3 and 5 are enrolled in an ECCE programme. In rural areas, nurseries and kindergartens are almost non-existent as early childhood care is seen as the mother's responsibility. However, in coastal and significant cities, ECCE has seen vast growth, with mothers being in the working force and having no options but to register their children in non-state or state nurseries and kindergartens. According to the Ministry of Education, the proportion of non-state preschool institutes is much higher than state institutes, whereby 2% of all state educational institutions are nurseries in contrast to 24% in the non-state sector as of 2012.
Registration and approval: The Private Education Department specifies the administrative and technical requirements needed to open non-state nurseries and pre-schools. However, no detailed information was found regarding the requirements and documentation needed to open a non-state pre-school.
Licence: The Private Education Department is responsible for issuing a licence to open, expand or modify non-state preschools. However, no detailed information was found on the duration and conditions of the licence.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: No information was found.
Curriculum and education standards: Pre-schools do not have specific curricula or educational programmes. Their main goal is to develop children linguistically and to prepare them for school. The number of hours that children spend in non-state pre-schools is flexible.
Teaching profession: No information was found.
Fee-setting: The Private Education Department proposes the determination of the upper and lower limits of the costs and tuition fees in non-state educational institutions.
Admission selection and processes: Students are admitted to educational institutions at different levels of education while complying with the conditions existing in the corresponding state institutions (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 7).
Policies for vulnerable groups: No information was found.
Reporting requirements: No information was found.
Inspection: In 2018, the Ministry of Education's Private Education department produced a circular regarding the ethical, professional educational and academic charter for non-state school education. The charter lists a set of standards that nurseries and kindergartens, non-state schools, educators, school management, and parents should follow while briefly mentioning punishments if they do not adhere to the rules. For example, such standards include group work (enhancing cooperation), transparency, respect, accountability, and sympathy.
Child assessment: No information was found.
Sanctions: No information was found.
Registration and approval: Non-state schools are to be established by educationally qualified individuals who can carry out educational activities in various educational stages or by recognised organisations and partnerships established according to the legislation set to achieve educational policies. The Ministry of Education’s Private Education department lists the documents to be provided for any application to open a non-state school, including the plan of the school's premises, building permit, a title deed, list of equipment and teaching aids required, teaching program, timetable, list of textbooks used, the school's internal rules and regulations, and the file on the candidate director. Every year, the ministry draws up a list of authorised and non-authorised non-state schools (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 1).
Regarding infrastructures, the building or place in which educational activities will be carried out must be suitable to the educational process and type of material being taught. According to its purpose and level, it must further meet the minimum level of requirements and conditions determined by the National Public Committee for Education and Scientific Research. Non-state educational institutions can further use the buildings of state educational buildings in exchange for financial compensation determined by the Committee (Art. 5)
Licence: Licencing requests are submitted to the free education office in the district in which the non-state school is to be opened. A request for licensing is also to be submitted to the National Centre of Quality and Accreditation. The General People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research must then issue a decision granting its approval so that the licence may be issued (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 53).
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): No regulation was found on WASH. However, access to water and sanitation facilities varies considerably between the different regions of Libya and further changes depending on whether the institution is non-state or state. Overall, most schools have access to student latrines, running water, or hand-washing facilities, whereas access to drinking water is more problematic. Whereby only 8% of non-state schools struggled with the provision of drinking water, at least 17% of state schools struggle with this as well. In addition, latrine maintenance was much higher in non-state schools, serving as 89% instead of 49% in state schools.
Profit-making: A non-state institution shall have a legal personality and independent financial liability. It must also have an annual budget that includes its resources, expenses, and is prepared according to the accounting systems of the Ministry of Education (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 35).
Taxes and subsidies: The National Public Committee can absolve non-state educational institutions from paying taxes, customs duties, or tariffs imposed on educational supplies, such as books and other equipment (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 6).
Curriculum and education standards: Foreign non-state schools are allowed to teach their own curricula, as long as they provide proof that they are accredited. If Libyan or Arab students are admitted to such schools, they must teach these students Arabic and Islamic (classes) at the primary and secondary levels, in addition to the subject of history at the primary level (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 78). These schools must provide the General People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research with a copy of their curricula for approval, and the schools cannot change the contents of the curricula except upon attaining the written approval of the Committee (Art. 78). The Committee has the right to modify or prevent any curricula or books (from being taught) based on religious or national values (Art. 80).
Textbooks and learning materials: In Foreign schools are forbidden from teaching any textbooks or other material that is not accredited or contradicts Islam or the political, cultural, or social inclinations of Libyan society (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 84). The schools cannot change the books or teach additional subjects without the written approval of the People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research (Art. 79)
Teaching profession: In both the non-state and state sectors, primary and secondary school teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree (or an equivalent diploma) and a teaching licence or (its equivalent). The hiring and payment of salaries are subject to each school’s requirements in accordance with Law No. 211 (2011) (Art. 35).
The regulations on non-state education do not explicitly state whether teachers in private schools are covered by the same provisions as those in the public service. However, the country adopted the 2010 Law No. 12 of 1378  on Labour Relations which covers all employees in both the public and private sectors.
Corporal punishment: The use of corporal punishment in schools is forbidden by a few regulations, including the School Discipline Ordinance for Schools, the Regulations concerning Primary and Preparatory (Basic) Education, the Regulations concerning Secondary (Intermediate) Education (1979) and the Regulation concerning Student Discipline (1983).
Other safety measures and COVID-19: No information was found.
Fee-setting: The cost of studying in non-state education institutions was determined by the General People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 9). Since the revolution and the increasing demand for non-state school institutions, some schools have increased their tuition fees. The Private Education Department is also involved in determining the upper and lower limits of the costs and the tuition fees in non-state educational institutions.
Admission selection and processes: Students can be accepted to non-state educational institutions at a number of different levels in accordance with the conditions that are stipulated [for the admittance of students] in state schools (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 6).
Policies for vulnerable groups: No information was found.
School board: No information was found.
Reporting requirements: The Private Education Department is responsible for the accreditation and evaluation of non-state and higher education institutions, while simultaneously proposing ways to develop them. To be accredited, schools must demonstrate that the staff has requisite qualifications, buildings are fit-for-purpose, the administration abides by the official curriculum, and the number of students does not exceed either that stated in the accreditation or set by local health and safety authorities. Finally, the competent authorities within the General People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research are responsible for overseeing foreign non-state schools (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 88).
School inspection: As of 2021, schools are regulated and quality assured by the Ministry of Education's Private Education Department. Non-state schools are subject to yearly pedagogical and administrative supervision by the Educational Inspection Department and the Private Education Department. The purpose of this is to ensure the proper use of curricula, guarantee the high quality of teaching and administrative staff, maintain the school’s sanitary facilities, and verify the proper functioning of the school.
Student assessment: Non-state schools must be in line with the general orientations of the education system to prepare students to participate at the end of the primary and secondary exams offered by the Ministry of Education. In addition, the examination offices in the school districts coordinate with the Examinations Department and the National Committee for Private Education to make the necessary arrangements to prepare exam [completion] certificates that indicate completion of the stages of basic and secondary education and intermediate technical education in non-state institutions (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 8).
Diplomas and degrees: Foreign non-state schools are allowed to issue their own certificates or diplomas, as long as they provide proof that they are accredited (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 78).
Sanctions on school closures: The Private Education Department has the authority to suspend all non-state education institutions from practising their activities (Decision No. 1147, 2017).
The only current law available on non-state tertiary education is the 1992 Law No. 1 concerning higher education and the 2011 Law No. 211 on free education. According to the 2017 Draft Constitution (Art. 54), the state shall take the necessary measures to ensure the independence of universities and research centres and guarantee their competitiveness and academic freedom according to general national standards. As of 2020, 11 non-state and 25 state universities operated, in addition to four state and four non-state tertiary knowledge organisations.
Registration and approval: For non-state higher education institutes to be established, they need to register and receive approval from the Private Higher Education department following the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research. More specifically, a collaborative higher education institution (a university, higher education institute, or a technical college) must submit a National Committee for Private Education while providing the following documents: the company's memorandum of association and supporting documents of its shareholders and employees, along with their academic qualifications and CVs; human resources and financial resources available to the institution, a separate study of the educational building among other documents, the capital allocated for the institution and the shares of each owner, an adequate study carried out by a chartered accountant of the institution's financial status; information regarding the educational and administrative staff; an estimated budget; the educational programmes offered; and the proposal of tuition fees (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 69).
The National Committee for Private Education creates a committee to investigate a request to establish a non-state higher education institution which must: investigate the file of the educational institution; visit the educational building and confirm that it meets the required conditions; and examine the educational and administrative framework (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 70). The National Committee for Private Education submits the file of the educational institution to the National Center for Quality Assurance and Accreditation to confirm that the institution in question meets the quality requirements. If the request or application is denied, the Center must explicate the reasons for the refusal, and the entity whose request was refused may re-apply upon proving that the reasons for the refusal have been addressed or resolved (Art. 71).
Licence: State and non-state universities are licenced according to the 1992 Law 1. However, since 2010, a new Law No. 18 stipulates that no university should be licenced before obtaining the approval of the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Centre, which was set up under the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The current prime minister approves a university's licence after the Quality Assurance Centre investigates what a higher-education institution is proposing.
Profit-making: No information was found.
Taxes and subsidies: No information was found.
Curriculum and education standards: Non-state higher education must be in accordance with the curricula, courses, and study plans approved by the General People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research. No information on the current standards was found (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 57).
Teaching profession: Collaborative higher education institutions' faculty or staff members must meet specific qualifications, including having or being: a Libyan citizen; in compliance with Libyan society's values and inclinations; received a higher education degree or a PhD or its equivalent; physically fit to work; not committed a felony or a misdemeanour (related to honour or public safety) or dismissed through disciplinary action. The article further stipulates that the collaborative higher education institution may also hire non-Libyans if need be, and special contracts must be drawn up in accordance with the specified rules regarding the hiring of non-Libyan faculty members (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 60). Concerning the salaries of employees, such institutions are not permitted to pay salaries or wages to non-partners that are less than the minimum salary set for university faculty members, in accordance with the legislation (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 68).
Fee-setting: State higher education is free as only those who wish to enrol in non-state higher education must pay tuition fees. The Private Education Department proposes the determination of the upper and lower limits of the costs and tuition fees in non-state educational institutions.
Admission selection and processes: All universities require that a student has obtained a minimum of 65% to be admitted to any faculty. Some faculties, such as medicine and engineering, require scores for admission, which exceed 75%. Students who have an average below 65% are admitted to the higher training institutes and vocational training centres or can repeat their secondary education certificate. There are no quotas or seats set aside for the enrolment of students from a specific population.
Board: In collaborative non-state higher education institutions, each institution shall have a council consisting of a university president, department heads, and a member from the University Teaching Authority appointed by the National Committee for Private Education (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 58).
Reporting requirements: No information was found.
Inspection: The Quality Assurance and Accreditation Centre is responsible for inspecting non-state universities and following up on universities that have been licenced to verify the quality of learning. The ministry may suspend any university or college work based on the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Centre’s reports.
Student assessment: No information was found.
Diplomas and degrees: No information was found.
Sanctions: The licence of a non-state higher education institution can be revoked based on the decision of the General People's Committee in accordance with the suggestion of the General People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research in the following cases: a) The institution goes against society's goals or violates education laws or the conditions upon which its licence was issued, b) its educational competence decreased, which is determined based on evaluative reports submitted by the National Committee for Private Education and the Center for Quality Assurance, or c) it loses its financial capability to carry out its mission (educational activity). The People's General Committee for Education and Scientific Research can also close any college, department, technical college or research centre if it becomes clear that it cannot fulfil its scientific or research duties. This is based on evaluative reports issued by the Center for Quality Assurance and the approval of other bodies (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 72).
The 2011 Law No. 211 (S. 2) specifically regulates private tutoring. Students must register with a private tutor if they wish to receive their services. Those who wish to receive a licence as a private tutor must submit a request to the Office of Free Education and documents, among others, which confirm that: a) the applicant is a Libyan citizen and has a good reputation, b) the applicant is fit to work (in terms of health) and is free to work, and c) agrees to continue to work and not to stop working suddenly in a way that would be harmful to his or her students, d) has not committed a felony or a crime related to honour, among other documents (Art. 2).
The Office then forwards the applications that comply with the abovementioned conditions to the National Committee on Private Education to study and forwards them to the General People's Committee on Education and Research to issue a licence upon completing the remaining licensing procedures before the start of the new academic year.
The private tutor is subject to periodic inspection by the competent authorities. The tutor should teach according to the students' curricula (Law No. 211, 2011, Art. 11). In addition, the tutor must apply the rules and regulations for admission and transfer of homeschooling pupils to the students registered with the private tutor (Art. 13). The private tutor must also evaluate and assess his or her students in the first three grades at the primary level similarly to how they are evaluated in state institutions (Art. 14). No information on the financial operation of private tutoring institutes was found.
The 2011 Law No. 211 (Art. 10) defines a private tutor as someone who teaches all subjects for the first, second, and third years of the basic education stage or one of the subjects for students of basic and secondary education stage. They may also hold short and medium courses under their responsibility as long as they are taught in an appropriate place for the education process. Based on the suggestion of the National Committee on Free Education, the General People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research may remove a teacher from his or her position in certain instances, such as if he or she is incapable of performing their work activities or if he is convicted of a felony or a (dishonourable) misdemeanour (Art. 21). Finally, the General People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research is responsible for paying the salaries of private teachers for two years from when they begin their position (Art. 16). The law does not outline the qualifications or certifications of private tutors. Many teachers do offer and teach private tutoring lessons to their own students who are studying in state schools after school hours finish.
This profile has been drafted by the Al Qasimi Foundation to support the PEER evidence base for the 2021/2 GEM Report on non-state actors in education.