Following the establishment of the National Transitional Council of Libya in 2011, a road-map for the transition of the country to a constitutional democracy with an elected government was approved by all stakeholders and elections took place on July 2012 for a General National Congress. The Congress will have to appoint a new government and to draft a constitution.
One of the main issues the government needs to address is the complex
Libyan labour market situation. Two factors characterise this situation.
First, increasing unemployment levels amongst Libyan nationals co-exist with growing numbers of foreign workers. Despite the difficulty in collecting accurate statistics from Libya, the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) estimates that expatriate workers represent 20% of the labour force while the unemployment rate of Libyan nationals is around 30%. Libyan workers tend to lack skills and competences and are unwilling to compete with foreign workers, a situation related to their socio-cultural values and attitudes.
In addition, the place of the public sector in the economy and the influence it has on the labour market must be considered. According to the World Bank, Libya has one of the highest levels of public sector employment in the world, employing up to 70% of the formal workforce. The wages and generous non-wage benefits offered by this sector have resulted in unrealistically high wage expectations from job seekers, and university and vocational education and training school graduates. Although many foreign workers have left the country following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime, it is not certain whether Libyan citizens will take these jobs.
Libyans are generally underprepared for the labour market because of the poorly performing education system. The numbers are high, with a 110% primary gross enrolment rate, 94% secondary gross enrolment rate (the highest in the region and worldwide) and 55.8% tertiary gross enrolment rate. However, according to the Global Competitiveness report 2010-2011, Libya performs poorly in terms of the overall quality of the education system, ranking 128 for primary education and 138 for higher education and training out of 139 countries. This is mainly due to low teacher qualification levels, gross absenteeism, a lack of facilities and adequate equipment and traditional curricula oriented towards the preparation of students for university students.
Following a request from the European Commission on December 2011, the
ETF has identified and designed a technical vocational education and
training (TVET) programme. EU support will focus on two main areas: addressing
the immediate needs of the unemployed to facilitate their access to the labour
market ; and supporting the reform of the TVET system to improve its overall
relevance to the needs of the economy and the society.
In addition, the ETF has offered Libyan stakeholders networking and peer learning opportunities by encouraging Libyan participation in various corporate and Mediterranean events such as the multi-level governance conference, or the conference on “new challenges for skills development in the Arab States of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.
The ETF’s overall objective in Libya is to contribute to the reform of the country’s vocational education and training system as a means to address the needs of the economy and society. In 2013, ETF will continue offering opportunities to Libyan stakeholders to learn from the experiences of other countries. In this respect, ETF will facilitate a study visit for a selected number of Libyan actors to Tunisia and Morocco. Finally ETF will carry out a Torino process in order to provide Libyan policy makers with evidence-based analysis of vocational education and training (VET) policies in the country.