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Preprimary & Primary Education

General Survey: Few Libyan children attend preprimary schools. In 1997, only 5 percent of preprimary school aged children actually attended such schools in Libya, and most of these were foreigners. Libyans usually begin school when they are six years old or older. In 1989, there were 852,593 students in 31,296 classrooms for an average of 27.2 students per class. School years begin in September and last 280 days, with students attending classes 6 days per week. As of 1992, 92 percent of eligible children were enrolled in primary school, and approximately 48 percent were female students. By 1994 this number had increased to over 1.3 million students, of whom 49 percent were female. This means that 97 percent of eligible students were enrolled in primary schools. Students were strongly encouraged to study science and mathematics. There were 36,591 primary school teachers in Libya in 1980, but by 1996 there were more than 100,000 primary teachers, of whom 47 percent were female teachers. In 1980, Libya had 765,000 illiterates, 28.5 percent of whom were male and 69.4 percent of whom were female. By 2000, Libya had 708,000 illiterates, of whom 9.1 percent were male, and 32.4 percent were female. Illiteracy fell from 47.1 to 20.2 percent of the population because significant strides were made in primary education for the entire Libyan population.

Age Limits: Education is free and compulsory between ages 6 and 15. Preprimary students may enter school as early as four years of age and full-grown adults may attend primary school if they missed it earlier in life. There is no upper limit on age.

Curriculum & Examinations: The six-year primary school's aim is to teach students to read, write, and count, as well as the natural sciences, hygiene, arts and crafts, and physical education. During their final year of primary school, students must pass an examination to qualify to enter junior high school. Junior high school, or Intermediate school, adds three more years to primary education, making it last for nine years in Libya.

Urban & Rural Schools: Urban schools are usually housed in buildings built of permanent materials which are durable. Rural schools are often mobile homes, which are made to serve "double duty" as portable homes for teachers following nomadic students and as mobile classrooms.

Teachers: There were 36,591 primary school teachers in Libya in 1980. By 1990, there were more than 85,537 primary teachers, of whom 47 percent were female teachers. Moreover, most teaching positions were no longer dominated by foreign teachers from Egypt, Palestine, and other nations. Libya has trained Libyan teachers to fill most positions, and 47 percent of these teachers are now women. The teacher to student ratio is 18 to 1.

Repeaters & Dropouts: In 1980, some 9.2 percent of Libyan primary school students repeated a grade. Dropouts declined once Libya abandoned its system of national examinations. Promotions are dependent solely upon passing in class examinations. Nonetheless, 4 percent of females and 2 percent of males dropped out of primary school.

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceLibya - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education