Overview Of The Development Of Universities In Libya Education Essay

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LHE is based on: the Higher Education Act No. 1 of 1992 on the organisation of higher education; the LGPC's decision No. 119 of 2004 on the establishment of the National Council of Universities; the organisational structure of universities and higher institutes (No. 22 in 2007) and LGPC decision No. 535 in 2007 regarding the reorganisation of universities and higher institutes, LPU and the Regulation No. 121 in 2004; a list of faculty members of national universities and institutions of higher education (No. 286 in 2006); and the LGPC for Higher Education's decision No. 141 in 2006 to reorganize the administrative apparatus, along with a number of other laws, regulations and instructions related to higher education and scientific research .

These laws and rulings have given the LGPC for Higher Education the right of supervision, coordination and development of plans, policies and educational programs, and identifying quality standards at all higher education institutions, right up to confirming their commitment to all laws and regulations in force in the field of higher education and scientific research.

LHE organisation structure

The first specific law regarding higher-education organisation in Libya was issued in 1992 and dealt with the responsibility of supervising the universities and their coordination. When the ministry was abolished in 2000 its functions were entrusted to the Ministry of Public Services; in 2004 it was re-established again when the Government felt the need for a specialized ministry orientation and moving higher education and scientific research to effectively serve the comprehensive and sustainable development in Libyan society. The ministry took over supervision of the state and LPUs and technical faculties. The technical faculties included later with technical institutes and the responsibility of supervising and coordinating them fall within the competence of the Ministry of Manpower; training and operating was re-established again in 2004.

The existence of the HES at the present time is an opportunity to develop HEIs and improve their performance, especially since the number of specialized skills and expertise in education has increased. However there are a number of weaknesses in this sector, highlighted in the distribution of responsibilities of higher education to a number of actors other than the Ministry of Higher Education, etc. This has become a problem because there is no mechanism for planning or coordination between them.

It seems that the existence of such a mechanism has become an urgent necessity in view of the expected increase in the preparation of secondary school graduates, as the absorptive capacity of universities now can not be covered. The national interest requires there be higher education to provide efficiencies of a professional nature, which requires expansion of the establishment of other HEIs, according to the development needs and requirements of the labour market.

Regarding the current role of the HES with respect to universities, it is limited to oversight and strategic direction without effective control. The reason for this is due to the absence of clear delineation of functions and responsibilities of the Ministry. Therefore specific tasks should be assigned to the ministry, carried out by a cadre of functional highly-qualified staff given the required database and sufficient information to enable them to develop policies and plans and make decisions appropriately. Since the data and information available to the ministry are currently inadequate, they need a clear picture of student numbers and distribution according to specialization, type, age etc., and also for teaching staff in terms of specialization, type and age. There is also no complete data on resources and expenditures.

Perhaps one of the factors weakening the role of the HES is its lack of experience, the failure to complete legislative structure and the structural and organisational changes. Also the LGPC for Finance exercises full and detailed control over the financial affairs of the universities directly. Development policies and strategic plans were unclear and intermittent, which led to the fluctuation of policies and administrative structural instability of the LHE

Libyan Private Universities (LPUs)

As for private universities education in Libya it is of relatively recent origin; the first private university was founded in 1995, and there are now 32 LPUs varying in size among the 24,700 students enrolled students. These universities also vary in terms of their quality, performance and reputation. In spite of the number of such LPUs compared to public universities they absorb only 10% of the total number of students. This means that their role is still modest in Libya, meeting the needs of distinguished graduates in various fields of higher education. However, these universities can play a more active and positive role in the future, if they work to develop their capacities and capabilities, and increase their investments. They can work towards improving quality, and if they work with the State Department they can receive encouragement and guidance on effective supervision and development, according to the academic accreditation standards and quality assurance that must be subject in all higher education institutions, governmental and private.

The existence of LPUs helps increase the volume of higher education in the country without cost to the government, and brings a lot of private investment to higher education. Because they are self-regulated they can adopt modern and flexible systems. They charge students and therefore should provide an education of high quality, but it is feared that they do not do so at the present time.

In 2000 the government issued Law No. (6) on universities, for faculties and private institutes to organize their structures and activities, but this law was only passed in 2005. In May 2005 the Government issued Decision No. 249 on the adoption of a list of private higher education. They also issued Decision No. 204 of 2006, which established a commission to identify standards and controls to adopt and evaluate higher education institutions, where the Government has adopted some LPUs in the light of the outcome of the visit of a number of scientific committees to these universities [82]. At the same time, the Government informed the universities and private institutions of higher education that they must respect minimum standards for recognition, and they were given a specific period of time to arrange their positions. This shows that the government started to realize the importance of organizing the conditions of universities and higher institutes, but so far there has not yet been any strategic framework for this.

With regard to the teaching staff of these universities, they still rely on the teaching staff of public universities; this is not a flaw, but has the additional advantage of enabling the university to improve and develop their performance and development programmes, including responding to the needs and requirements of the labour market. But this raises the question about the extent of the benefit from these universities and the may turn to future investment opportunities to generate more profits for LPUs.

Historical overview of the development of LUs

Basically, the LGPC decision No. (207) in 2001 regarding the organisational structure of LUs stated that:

Universities are scientific bodies responsible for higher education and postgraduate studies and scientific research by faculties and departments scientific research centres in all fields to a set of objectives to achieve progress in the areas of science and technology. The thought and art to the preparation of specialists in various branches of science and knowledge, production and services, to promote scientific research and participation, as well as to develop means and methods of other scientific research, both locally, nationally and globally, with work experience and to invest in scientific bodies and institutions, corporations and various organs, ethics and development of science and the arts. [82]

These goals highlight the significant strategic and fundamental role to be played by universities in all aspects of construction activities and areas in Libyan society. This necessitates that scientific methods are followed in the management and organisation of such universities, as that would increase the degree of efficiency in the performance and effectiveness and in achieving results based on improving the quality of decisions taken. This can be achieved by adopting of modern management to change management by providing appropriate and sufficient information.

Construction of the structural institutions of higher education

The building of structural institutions of LHE is complicated somewhat by virtue of its inception in unplanned conditions. To date, there are 14 public universities in Libya, containing a number of faculties covering most disciplines; the number of faculties range from ten faculties (Al-Fateh University) to five faculties (Nasser National University). The sizes of the universities vary in terms of numbers of students enrolled, from 60,912 thousand students (Al-Fateh University) compared to 6,800 students (Nasser National University). The two oldest universities are Garyounis, which was founded in 1955, and Al-Fateh, established in 1957; the most recent is the 7th of October University, established in 2000.

Quantitative developments in the number of LUs

The first Libyan University, the Faculty of Arts, was founded in 1955 in Benghazi, followed in 1957 by the Faculty of Commerce and Economy. By the end of 1971/1972 the Libyan University comprised ten faculties in three major cities and consisted of around 6000 students and 400 faculty members. The faculties were split between Tripoli (later Al-Fateh) and Benghazi (later Garyounis) which included the Baidah faculties [148]. Since 1983 the universities have been classified under the concept of specialization; this expansion resulted in 14 specialized universities by 2006/7, with 240,830 students [89].

The success of development plans has increased the need to open more faculties and universities in various regions to cope with social and economic development. The idea of horizontal expansion in university education emerged: the development of new 'university departments' to find logical solutions to existing universities' problems, and the creation of many universities in various Shaabiat was announced in LGPC decision 308 [82]. The current status of the public universities and faculties is as follows:

Public universities (13)

Open University (1)

The number of faculties is (188)

Applied Science faculties represent 50.6% (95)

Humanities faculties represent 26% (49)

The proportion of Scientific disciplines is 60%

The proportion of Humanities disciplines is 40 %

Faculties including multi-departments (arts, department of teachers and department of sciences) represent 23.4% (44)

Table ‎10:1 Rates and ratios of faculty members compared to students [149]



The current rate in Libya

Medical Faculties



Dental Faculties



Applied Science






The average current students/faculty ratio is inappropriate and affects the quality of teaching and education. Since 1952 a number of laws and administrative decisions on organisational restructuring of LHE have been issued, and we can note the increase in university numbers to 27 in 2003 (the number had been reduced to 14 by 2004/5) [82]. It can be further noted on education policies in general, and especially higher education, that the emphasis is on quantity without quality, due to increasing demand in recent times. There are now nineteen universities including professional institutes for specialized technical study. The numbers of students has risen to nearly 250,000, approaching the global rates of Advanced International, which amounted to 3360 students per hundred thousand citizens, with some states reaching 4000 students per hundred thousand citizens. Enrolment rates reached approximately 60% of the 18-22 age group in 2000, among the highest in the Arab world A seminar conducted by a quarterly magazine mentioned that the philosophy of public education has remained static since 1974, possibly because educational policies were implemented automatically without clear or realistic plans [150].

Structural problems of LHE

LHE has undergone a number of changes over a period of years. This study focuses on a route for higher education to practise in the early years of structural changes. The organisational structure of the education secretariat specialize in university education departments within the components of the structure of the secretariat, and confining it to the Bureau of Public Higher Education determines its terms of reference. Decisions are made by the Secretary of Education and the secretariat entrusted with the management of its affairs is a link between the Secretary and universities and institutes of higher education. We note in this context that no reference to determine the separation in the terms of reference of the Bureau and the terms of reference of the Supreme Council of Universities, which was established in accordance with law 37/1977 for the organisation of universities in the same period.

In 1984 development of a new secretariat was formed in the education sector under the LGPC Decision 708, a secretariat of universities that specialize in all respect to the university and higher education missions, scholarships and scientific research. Under this regulation the Office of Graduate and Post-graduate studies was formed in accordance with the criteria established in coordination between institutions of higher education. The secretariats of the education sector had been represented in the secretariat of education and the universities secretariat; the General People's Congress issued its decision number 376 regarding the formation of a new secretariat of scientific research in the context of higher education and university, giving support for universities and scientific research institutions.  

The LGPC decided in resolution number 296 in 1986 to form a steering committee of higher education specializing in identifying number of students to be directed annually from the general secondary certificates campaign to study in higher institutes and faculties in various specializations, taking into account the priorities required by the development plans. It is worth noting that this Committee is almost overlapping with the Office of Graduate Studies, which did not come into the People's Committee decision. There is a kind of organisation for each party separately; it prevents duplication in the issuance of the various resolutions and regulations.

In 1989, the General People's Congress resolution ruled on the establishment of three secretariats of the Management of higher education and Scientific Research, which were, respectively: Secretariat of the LGPC for Higher Education, Secretariat of the LGPC for Education, Secretariat of the General Peoples Committee for Scientific Research, according to the decision of the LGPC assigned for higher education practice in all the disciplines set out in Law No. 37/1977 for the reorganisation of universities.

In November 1992 the General People's of Higher Education were reorganized by decision of the General People's Congress, which provided for the integration of the People's Committee of General Education into the LGPCs for the Youth Sports, Higher Education, Scientific Research all under the same organisational structure of one secretariat, which specializes in this framework of public administration for universities and institutes of higher education by instituting controls for the placement of students according to the need of society.

In 1996, under the decision of the General People's Decision No. 2 the secretariats of the education sector were divided into three separate secretariats of the People's Committee for Education and Scientific Research with respect to policies of higher education, and in 1999 the educational sector was organized to faithfully represent the People's Committee for Education and Vocational Training, with the abolition of the secretariat of scientific research.

LHE adopted the strategy of integrating some public universities and colleges in one university in order to reduce expenditure and reducing the public universities from fourteen to nine universities, but of allowing private universities.[ 83]

After an extensive and detailed study on the status of universities, the Secretariat of Education issued, in 1999, a decision that the number of universities should be reduced from fourteen to nine. Eventually, fourteen university departments were established, subordinated to six main universities, and administratively subordinated to the People's Committee at the municipality.[ 81]

Resolution No. 3 of the GPC, issued in 2000 and cancelled by the People's Committee for Education and Training and merged within the secretariat of services affairs, which has jurisdiction

To oversee the functioning of the bodies, organs and different interests initiating service activities, as well as to ensure that relevant departments follow those activities and services include educational and economic aspects… [82]

It has been entrusted to organize directly at the grass-roots level with regard to the placement of students at the various HEIs under rules enacted and then cancelled in 2003. Subsequently, each sector has become managed separately by LGPC. The previous presentation reflects the most important changes in the education sector for the period 1980-2003, which reflects the dominant feature of instability in the secretariats of the sector, as well as the various departments and offices.

In 2004, under the decision of the General People's Congress No. 111 the secretariats of the General People's Committee for Higher Education was re-established, which was composed of: Secretary of the LGPC for Higher Education - The Secretaries of the People's Committees of the public universities - and the People's Committees Secretaries of the of the university colleges and higher institutes which governing by higher education sector. While the higher Committee consist of: the Secretary- LGPC for Higher Education - The Secretaries of the People's Committees of the public universities. Finally, the subsequent decision issued as No. 141/2006 on the reorganisation of the administrative system of the LGPC for Higher Education Sector, as well as, decision No. 22/2008 on the organisational structure of universities and institutions of higher education.

In the context of controlling the proliferation of institutions of higher education with a focus on the possibilities and the consolidation of administrative and human capacity of these institutions, therefore, LGPC for Higher Education has worked to reduce the number of universities (27) to (12) universities, in accordance with the decision of the LGPC No. (200) for the year 2004, which would also become a higher institutes for teachers as university colleges under the supervision of public universities. LGPC Higher Education believes that the map of higher education in Libya, according to this deployment , is typical, compared to global standards, which set out the University of per million inhabitants, while in Libya it is one University for (400) thousand people[ 89 ].

This resolution is an essential step in the dissemination of educational institutions on the basis of scientific thought, but it's become necessary when the need arises and there is potential necessity to do so. It should be noted that the secretariat of the LGPC for Higher Education seeks to keep pace with the decision to establish a college or university providing the necessary infrastructure of qualified human resources and the set of suitable and appropriate equipment, in addition to the scientific and economic feasibility. This is called the LGPC for Higher Education to invite universities to planning for the opening of faculties specialising to provide information and technical capabilities necessary for them to start appearing in the system of higher education with the beginning of the next academic years.

These changes, noted in Table 10.9 below, were in some way compatible with the orientations of political discourse, in particular with regard to the changes caused to the secretariats of the various education sectors in response to the requirements of educational infrastructure, which required the development of new secretariats: training and vocational training, higher education, etc. These decisions were taken in order to ensure effectiveness in the performance and implementation of the new procedures infrastructure for education, but in most cases these changes and various modifications were unjustified, especially with regard to the integration of five secretariats into one, or in the transition of secretariats with a single function department integrated into a mere department or office within an organisational structure containing many offices and departments, or the abolition of the whole secretariats and administering services for some disciplines relevant to higher education.

Instability of the financial and management system in higher education sector through the integration and abolition has impacted on the stability of the universities, and its role in development of strategic plans and their follow-up.

Table ‎10:2 Changes in secretariats of the education sector (1985-2004) [82, 151]



The Number of Sectors


The secretariat of education, universities management and Scientific Research



Secretariat of Education and Scientific Research



The secretariat of education and scientific research, the Vocational Education and Training



Education Secretariat, the secretariat of higher education, scientific research Secretariat, the secretariat of Youth and Sports, the Vocational Education and Training



The secretariat of education and youth, scientific research and vocational training



There is no general secretariat for the higher education sector ( Managed by secretariat of services affairs)



Establishing the LGPC for Higher Education


Through previous incarnations which were characterized by instability and inconstancy of structures, the following could be observed: [151]

Multiple regulations, decisions and reorganizing the LGPC for Higher Education, which were used to merge separate departments and various sections, thus affecting the stability of these departments and sections. Hence the difficulty of drawing up plans and educational policies is clear and specific.

Multiple regulations and decisions to regulate the study and exams both at the level of undergraduate or graduate studies. Thus it has become difficult to identify any valid regulations and decisions; this led to the existence of different universities and faculties in the university in the interpretation and implementation of these regulations and decisions.

One of the most important consequences of the ongoing changes and adjustments affected the capacity and efficiency of the secretariat of education to develop clear and stable policies with respect, for example, to the placement of universities and the efficiency of the process of placement

Higher Education Secretariat HES (case study)

As mentioned earlier, it must be up to the HES to have a clear vision and a letter specifying the purpose of its existence, and this letter should be circulated to all higher education institutions. There should also be awareness that its brief is not confined to close control over the activities of the universities, but in supervision, coordination and follow-up of higher education institutions, especially universities, moving towards managerial self-regulation in general. Therefore, the basic functions of the ministry are as follows:

Leadership and guidance of higher education institutions.

Provide frameworks and legal rules governing the institutions of higher education.

Monitoring and controlling the quality of higher education and ensure the implementation of quality standards and academic accreditation.

Work to assist universities in obtaining the necessary resources to operate it from the government to the agreed arrangements.

The development of linkages and coordination between institutions of LHE and their counterparts at regional and international levels.

Coordination between institutions of LHE.

Support scientific research and authoring, translation and encouraging publishing.

Work on community service and insurance needs of manpower.

In general, the task of the HES is planning to develop the sector in general, in a manner compatible with granting sufficient self-regulation to universities. In light of this the ministry should identify issues that require policies to determine the overall thrust of the ministry. Hence the ministry can enable the HEIs to implement their own policies, and provide appropriate structure to enable the ministry to achieve its role.

It is worth mentioning that the HES at this time needs to building the capacity in its staff members for the advancement of those tasks, and therefore it is essential that the ministry supplies the needs of their staff members and works to attract what the skills they need in the areas of education planning, economics, finance, administration and censorship, as well as in areas of policy development and analysis, statistical analysis, technical information and auditing. It is certain that the ministry will not be able to carry out its responsibilities efficiently unless it possesses these staff members, and their required capabilities and skills.

One of the main priorities in the future is to build coherent organisational structure of the institution based on comprehensive management information into the HEIs, which includes providing a mechanism for the process of data collection and analysis. In the next section of research data analysis, there are recommendations on the development of management information systems for universities, which would give the opportunity to develop a comprehensive system across the nation to meet the needs of the ministry as well as the universities. In the event that the management information system is provided, it would be a help policy-makers in terms of information required for strategy formulation and decision-making of implementation of change process, as this is not only the responsibility of the ministry but also of the Council for Higher Education and the universities as proposed below.

Currently there is ambiguity in determining the ultimate responsibilities and powers in terms of overlap at LUs, where the organisational structure is subject to decisions of the Secretariat of LGPC, which includes definition of the Terms of reference of heads of universities; for the governing bodies of universities that means, mostly, members of the faculty. That means, in the event of obtaining full independence, the Council's decisions will be biased in favour of faculty members, which is unsatisfactory, particularly in light of the global trend that boards of trustees is the supreme authority of the universities but who do not represent the majority which includes academic members in addition to other stakeholders.

The management of any university - especially large universities such as some LUs - involves a large volume of administrative work; therefore such jobs must be assigned to highly efficient staff members, thus turning the university into a kind of successful business, where the Executive Director and all executives are accountable for their work and performance before of the Board of Trustees, consisting of mainly or exclusively of non-executives.

‎10:1 Structure of the Libyan Secretariat for Higher Education [89].

The decision of the LGPC No. 176 issued in 2004 was on the reorganisation of the administrative system of higher education; the first article was in reference to the Secretariat for Higher Education, which aims to implement the plans and directions established by the general community in particular, identified in Article II on divisions of the administrative body for the sector to ensure the implementation of these directions, plans and decisions. These divisions have five departments with an additional four departments, as shown above in Figure 10.8.

The Secretariat needs assistance in analysing and evaluating the university plans and strategy. This also requires building their staffing, and when these capabilities should be provided to give priority to scientific and financial planning and management, in addition to developing strategies and analysis. Therefore, they should review the organisational structures and current management in order to promote transparency in decision-making and promote effective communication in all directions, and this is only possible through creating a management information system. However, each university must be responsible for defining its mission, and to prepare a strategy in light of the national strategy for higher education management.

The main objective for the organisational structure would be an incorporation of new technologies and new ways in the management systems of LHE, through identification and addressing of many different learning needs by developing the performance skills through many different learning opportunities. However, the LHE field faces important challenges and opportunities in the future, for which it is becoming more significant to describe, estimate and predict the dynamics of organisational structures. These challenges and opportunities include changes in working methods, promotion of activities, strategy intervention, organisational processes, current environmental requirements aimed towards bridging the performance gaps between dynamic changes in universities' requirements and dynamic capabilities at an organisational level by adopting a process of practical, comprehensive change models.