Project background

Over the past decade, Libya is experiencing a dramatic change in terms of engaging in new international and regional opportunities. Following the lifting of international sanctions in 2003 and 2004, Libya is  now actively involved in investment and trade initiatives. In order to promote human and sustainable development, Libya - the second largest oil producer in Africa - is working to reform its higher education and scientific research systems through a EUR7 billion five-year national strategic plan and international cooperation (University World New, 5 April 2009).

In the face of new opportunities, Libya faces a new challenge. The United Nations Population Fund Common Country Assessment highlights concerns about the quality and efficiency of services in education, health and related areas (UNPF CCA 2005).  Large number of migrant workers in Libya co-exist with growing unemployment of Libyans. The report underlines the need for further educational reform to address the quality of higher education in order to meet the country’s modern needs and upcoming opportunities.

The same report noted that while the Government has succeeded in providing free universal education and vocational training, its highest priority now is to raise the quality of education, with a view to reducing unemployment and creating a knowledge society. The UNPF and the UNDP in its Country programme 2009 has called for more programmes supporting reforms in the education sector to create a labour force equipped to meet the challenges of globalization.  It called for an improvement in educational standards via the development of core curricula, capacity building strategies, quality assurance mechanisms, and benchmarking the education system against international criteria.

At a macro level, the Libyan government has initiated several projects, amongst which is the establishment of a National Authority for Scientific Research (NASR) and a Centre for Quality Assurance and Accreditation (CQAA). It has called for universities to develop standards to measure the quality and innovative nature of scientific research. The CQAA echoed this call by supporting the evaluation of academic performance of the education system according to international performance standards. This is intended to strengthen quality and continuously improve the Libyan university system.


Additionally and taking into account the early stage of the definition for internal quality assurance framework within the partner Universities, the top level management lacks capacity and experience in the implementation of such policies, both at technical and strategic level.

 The problems identified are therefore

- Absence of a standardised effective mechanism for recognising and rewarding excellence and quality;

- Non-efficient information and promotion policy and

- Young management capacity

- Top management active to take part in Quality Management but lack opportunities – hence leading to poor strategy in Quality Management

- Quality units and staff are not sufficiently trained in tools such as continuous evaluation, benchmarking, etc.

This proposal addresses the three main issues faced by Libyan universities – building the capacity of quality assurance offices, developing a strong and robust policy on quality management and sharing expertise on methodologies and processes.