Libya uses education as a tool of development. The curriculum in public schools is often set according to skills that are required in the working sector. Incentives are also created to encourage students to study those fields. All of this is done in the hopes of replacing foreign workers by skilled Libyan workers.
Finding a school in Libya that upholds the standard of education expats expect for their children can seem like a daunting task. Choosing the appropriate school will have a significant impact on the child’s transition to expat life in Libya.
Public schools in Libya
Basic education is free and compulsory in Libya. Children attend primary school between the ages of six and 12. Typically this phase of education will focus on classes like Arabic, Islamic languages, Jamahiriyi society, mathematics and natural sciences. Children in Libya complete the final three years of basic education in middle school. After middle school, at the age of 15, they are awarded a basic education certificate. They then have the choice between finding work or going on to secondary school.
Classes in public schools are taught in Arabic. This language barrier often makes public schooling inaccessible to foreign children. The strong focus on religion and Islam may also lead to large degrees of culture shock for children not raised in the Islam faith.
Private schools in Libya
There are a limited number of private schools operating in Libya. These schools charge high fees but offer a better standard of teaching with smaller classes. However, they still follow the national curriculum as determined by the Secretariat of Education and Culture. Typically, the language of instruction is also Arabic in these schools.
International schools in Libya
In the last decade, corporations who have cultivated the expat community in Libya have attempted to improve the transition when it comes to expat children's education. Though choices still remain few, and waiting lists can cause frustration, there is a handful of international schools available that are well-organised and reputable.
Most international schools are found in Tripoli. Schools typically start from preschool and run through to the end of high school. The curricula of these schools range from German, to French, to the esteemed International Baccalaureate regime. The language of instruction will follow the curriculum being followed. Classes are small and the standards are high.
Because of the high standards and limited spots available, expats should register their children as early as possible to ensure proper enrolment. There is almost always a non-refundable application fee to be paid for this service. Admission procedures vary from school to school. Fees tend to be expensive and often do not cover things like books and uniforms. Expats should attempt to negotiate a schooling stipend as part of their contract.
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