Financing Policy for Higher Education and the role of the private sector in Libya

Abider, Jalal (2016) Financing Policy for Higher Education and the role of the private sector in Libya. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Prior to 1999, higher education in Libya was monopolized by the public sector and there was considerable public resistance to the establishment of private universities. The impetus for the private higher education policy was created by a number of pressures on public policy for higher education, which had been adopted by Gaddafi’s government for two decades. This study explores the efforts of Gaddafi’s regime to cope with this issue. It reviews the financing policy for higher education and the phenomenon of the growth of private higher education in Libya and describes the strategy of the Gaddafi government for reforming the higher education system with a view to encouraging privatization. The thesis also analyses the case of a particular private university with the aim of providing insights into the managing and financing of a private higher education institution from which to make informed appraisals and assessments of the practice of private higher education in the country. In addition, it analyses the effects of the new financing policy for higher
education in the Gaddafi period for the main stakeholders, namely students, academics and institutions themselves. The research contends that the policy shift had had a significant effect on quality just as it has introduced universities to risks through engagement with
academic capitalism with its emphasis on marketization of university programmes and services. The thesis concludes with suggestions for some policy options that could help to mitigate the negative consequences of Gaddafi’s policy, taking in to account some
developments since the February 2011 revolution which overthrew the Gaddafi regime.
The 1999 Private Higher Educational Institutions Act opened the possibility of private universities being founded to increase the supply of quality graduates to increase the advantage of competitiveness. As with many countries, Libya is a very recent arrival to the world scene of rapidly growing private higher education. Reform in higher education
financing in Libya has been occasioned by both endogenous and exogenous variables. Internal pressures of a declining economy, rapid demographic growth and increased interand intra-sectoral competition for scare financial resources, coupled with external neoliberal doctrines championed by global donors like the World Bank, resulted in a new
market-competitive policy of financing higher education.
In Libya the policy was to facilitate educational reform to produce quality graduates that could help transform Libya from a development economy to an industrialized and knowledge based economy for the primary purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of the Libyan economy. However, the policy of Gaddafi’s government to privatize higher
education was ad hoc; it was carried out in a deteriorating environment and in response to the political desires of dictatorship rule. The thesis demonstrates how important the particular circumstances of any single country like Libya are in helping us to understand the development of private higher education. It shows how the previous government policy
to reform financing higher education cannot relieve fiscal stress. Attention is drawn to the expansion in the number of private higher education institutions, the dramatic increase of enrolments in social science fields, and the many difficulties institutions had in coping with
the circumstances in Libya during the phase of Gaddafi’s rule. Comprehensive reform of the role of the state in the financing and governance of higher education was proposed. The government's reform strategy involved accreditation bodies that were established later. These centres were questionable in terms of skills of staff members, administrative structure and their attestation and accreditation procedures. The implementation of the new policy was poor.
Private universities offer a limited number of courses and the fees from students continue to be their major source of income. They are profit makers in a country that had been wedded to a culture of socialism for more than forty years. A number of college and university students in Libya attend private institutions, for several reasons, one of which is
that private universities are seen as easier than public universities. The number of students in private universities does not account for a significant proportion of university enrolments for there are more students in public than in private universities. Even so, private higher education plays an important role in the higher education sector. Private
institutions do not provide professional training in fields relevant to employment opportunities but instead offer an education with its emphasis on the human sciences, qualification in which are unlikely to enable a graduate to obtain employment. Private higher education is expensive and costly to attend. Many private institutions are caught in a
dilemma. They cannot achieve significant efficiency by reducing instructional costs without damage to the quality of their programmes, and they are reluctant to raise tuition fees and other charges because of the damaging effects on student recruitment. As long as public higher education is provided at low or no cost to the student and private higher
education continues to be entirely self-supporting, the private sector will have a peripheral role to play in higher education in Libya. This research was undertaken during the period when the Gaddafi regime was overthrown in a bloody revolution in 2011. The thesis concentrates on the policy developments and problems during the Gaddafi years, but brief reference is made to relevant subsequent developments.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Political, Social and International Studies (former - to 2014)
Depositing User: Users 2593 not found.
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2016 13:29
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 13:29


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