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Since 2012 we have been supporting Libya to develop education and training to boost employability, increase access to opportunity and promote social cohesion. Complementing the work of the EU’s External Action Service, we bring together ministries and social partners to develop scalable projects.

The ETF designed a ground-breaking 6.5 million euro project to improve the delivery of technical and vocational education and training in Libya which involved the country in various projects initiated by the ETF including the second round of the Torino process in 2013-2014. The deteriorating political and security situation in the country has however lead to the project’s interruption and Libya is now able to only sporadically take part in ETF activities. We are providing support to the EU delegation in Libya ( based in Tunis) to redesign the EU-TVET project.

Economic context and priorities

The cost of the political conflict has taken a severe toll on the Libyan economy, which has remained in recession for the third consecutive year in 2015. Political strife, weak security conditions, and blockaded oil infrastructures continue to constrain the supply side of the economy. Production of crude oil fell to around 0.4 million barrels per day and the non-hydrocarbon output remained weak, due to disruptions in the supply chains of both domestic and foreign inputs, as well as lack of financing. In this context, GDP is estimated to have declined by 10 percent and per capita income has fallen to less than US$ 4,500 compared to almost US$ 13,000 in 2012. Lack of funding to finance imports, especially subsidized food, generated chronic shortages in basic commodities and expansion of black markets activities mean that six years after the fall of Muammar Gadhafi, Libya remains in a chaotic state. The United Nations-backed government struggles to exert control over territory held by rival factions, intensifying geographical and political divisions between the East, West, and South.

Socio-demographic situation

The labour market is characterised by a large size of the public sector (which accounts for around 70% of the workforce), migration, and informal employment. Before the revolution, the International Organisation for Migration assessed the number of immigrants in Libya at around 2.5 million. The deterioration of the security situation in the country has led a sharp decrease in this number. Although no reliable data exists, the number of migrant workers is estimated at less than a million. This large number of migrant workers is combined with a high unemployment rate (around 19%) which principally affects women and recent entrants to the labour market, namely young people at all education levels.

Education and labour policies

Responsibility for TVET in Libya falls under two different ministries: the Ministry of Education for initial training, which supervises (through a Board) technical and vocational educational institutions, and the Ministry of Labour which looks after continuing training. The TVET system remains supply driven with weak linkages with the labour market and other stakeholders active in the market; there is no real coordination between the VET schools and employers. The quality of training provided in TVET schools is of a relative low quality due to outdated curricula, absence of continuous professional development and poorly equipped schools. This affects negatively the attractiveness of the system and does not encourage local companies to recruit graduates from schools.

EU support and the ETF

In 2012 Libya benefited from a 6.5 million euro project designed by ETF and implemented by the British Council, which attempted to modernise the TVET system. The deterioration of the political and security situation in the country has led to the suspension of the project. The European Union Delegation to Libya is currently reactivating the project.

The ETF is working with Libya to review the TVET system in the country through the Torino Process.

A first workshop was held in January 2018 in Tunis with a group of stakeholders to present the analytical framework and set up an action plan. A second one was organised in Tunis in May to discuss a first draft of the report, and a last one is planned for September to discuss the final draft of the report. Libya is also participating in the ETF forum for Quality Assurance in VET.

More information

Country Strategy Paper 2017-20 Actions 2019_Libya