Do more universities mean better education for young Libyans?

Introduction

Libya’s higher education sector has suffered from various crises since the 2011 revolution, particularly during the past several years of war, as a result of the deteriorating security situation. One of the most significant crises has been the horizonal expansion of universities without any attention to quality standards, a phenomenon which has reduced the quality of higher education in the country. The number of public universities in Libya grew from 13 in 2014 to 26 in 2021.

Despite the substantial increase in Libya’s youth population during the last decade, the proliferation of universities remains unjustified. Out of Libya’s total population of 6,871,286, youth currently make up 56.78 percent. In fact, young people between the ages of 15 and 34—the age group targeted by all levels of higher education—make up 24.25 percent of the population.  In other words, there are 1.5 million young people within this age bracket, but there are currently only 350,000 university students in Libya. Based on these statistics, we can say that there is no correlation between the proliferation of universities in Libya and the demographic distribution of these age groups.

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