Situation Report
Credit: Dr. Seif Alnaser
Credit: Dr. Seif Alnaser

Shedding light on life in Libya

Nine years of conflict have taken a severe toll on the country’s people, with almost 400,000 displaced and access to the most basic things in life becoming progressively more difficult for most. The combination of several worrying developments – armed conflict, increasing COVID-19 cases and its impact on livelihoods and the economy – has brought thousands of protesters to the streets since late August, protesting deteriorating living conditions, persistent water and electricity cuts and corruption. This is an insight into three people’s lives from south, east and west Libya.

Education must resume in the east despite the virus 

“After months of suspension due to coronavirus, universities and higher education institutions were given permission by the eastern Ministry of Education to resume classes since the beginning of October, while adhering to the necessary precautionary measures,” said Dr. Seif Alnaser, the Director of the Department of International Cooperation at the interim Ministry of Education. In Libya, the closure of schools to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted learning for 1.3 million students. In addition to learning, schools serve as an access point for conflict-affected children and adolescents to access various services including school-feeding programmes, recreational activities, and psychosocial support services. The prolonged closure of schools also puts additional pressure and stress on parents and caregivers.

Dr. Seif, who teaches political science and research at the University of Benghazi said that colleges decided to implement remote learning programs for some classes to stop the spread of the virus, while courses which required attendance were held at the university with the necessary precautions.

“The Ministry of Education was late to respond and adapt to remote learning but has since provided an educational platform with over 1,800 classes recorded so far. We must learn to coexist with the pandemic. But if we stop life, including education and work, the results will be disastrous”.