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Libya: ETF helps build modern VET

Libya's Board for Technical and Vocational Education together with the ETF held a joint conference in the capital Tripoli. The event launched a review of the state the vocational education and training (VET) in the country, Torino Process, and introduced ETF activities that open opportunities for Libyan vocational education sector.

Libya’s Board for Technical and Vocational Education together with the ETF held a workshop  in the capital Tripoli that launched the Torino Process, a review of the state the vocational education and training (VET) in the country.

The meeting at the College for Tourism and Hospitality in Tripoli on 12 December was opened by Fathi Akkari, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, who is in charge of the Board.

The event was also an opportunity for the participants to learn about the ETF’s current activities in Libya, the new EU-funded regional project on governance for employability in the Mediterranean (GEMM), and about the opportunities to network and learn from peers at various events, which the ETF will organise in the region and beyond.

‘What we expect from the Torino Process in Libya is a shared, evidence-based analysis of the challenges facing VET system and the ways forward’, said Mounir Baati, ETF country manager for Libya.

Mr Baati identified a number of critical points in vocational education and training in Libya, among them:

•    the fact that VET reform is a new issue in the country,   
•    stakeholders are not used to work together, their roles are often new to them,
•    the accurate data on labour market are hard to obtain.

At the meeting a steering committee and a working group was agreed to be set up within the next four weeks. The working group will gather data and evidence, review the existent literature and report back to the committee. The initial findings will be presented to the ETF in the first half of 2013.

The social context

Although no reliable data are available on unemployment, the most common rate mentioned by national sources and international organisations is 30%. This high level of unemployment is combined with a high pool of expatriate, skilled and less skilled, workers. This situation is a result of a mix of factors: 1) the mismatch between the education system and the needs of the labour market; 2) the generous wages and non-wage benefits offered by the public sector resulting in unrealistically high-wage expectations from the job seekers (including graduates from universities and VET schools) and finally 3) unwillingness of Libyans to undertake manual work.

Facts and figures on VET in Libya

The formal education system in Libya is composed of compulsory basic education of nine years which consists of six years of primary school and three years of preparatory school.

The public TVE system comprises three types of institutes:

•    intermediate institutes offering three-year programmes to students aged 15 and above and who hold the compulsory basic school certificate,
•    higher institutes offering courses to students aged 18 and above and who hold the secondary school certificate,
•    technical colleges offering courses to students aged 18 and above who finished secondary school certificate with higher grade. They offer four-year programmes leading to a technical bachelor degree.

The challenges

According to the chairman of the TVET Board, there are 381 intermediate centres, 91 higher institutes and 16 technical colleges. The total enrolment in the TVET institutions is 150071 of which 70422 in the intermediate, 66457 in the higher institutes and 13192 in the colleges.

However, the specialisations offered in vocational schools have been based on the availability of equipment and teachers’ qualifications, rather than on the labour market needs. There is no mechanism in place to analyse labour market needs and consequently align the education and training provision. Social partners role in VET is very limited and remains to be developed.