Basic education for both girls and boys in Libya is free and compulsory, and spans from ages 6 to 15.1 The use of mobile classrooms has been introduced for more remote areas, which ensures that access to education remains available to all.2 The nine years of compulsory schooling are divided into primary (6 years), and secondary (3 years). This basic education is then optionally followed by prepatory school (pre-university, ages 15-18).
Higher education in Libya is financed by the State, and thus under its authority.3 One public institution in the country, The Open University, relies on tuition fees paid by students. For a long time, public universities were the only option for receiving higher education. At the turn of the millennium, however, private schools began to emerge, and thus today remain an option for students.
Education and gender equality:
52% of Libyan women have achieved secondary education or higher, compared to 53% of Libyan men.4 Despite this promising figure, education inequality remains a significant concern. 14% of Libyan girls do not finish their first 6 years of basic education, compared to only 3% of boys. These figures demonstrate that Libyan girls are 5 times more likely than boys to have incomplete primary education. This is likely due to social and cultural stereotypes about girls and women being needed to remain in the home to perform unpaid care work.
Despite the large gender gap that is seen in completion of primary education, other numbers yield more positive outcomes. There is little to no gender gap in the completion of university education.5 Additionally, 77% of women and girls under the age of 25 report intentions to complete university level education or higher (compared to 67% of men).6 It is encouraging to observe that, even in the presence of social and cultural barriers, a majority girls and women in Libya set goals for themselves that exceed those pressures.