Omran Al-Qeeb, the minister of higher education and scientific research in Libya’s new Government of National Unity, is working to overcome major challenges that confront the nation’s universities. Problems include poor pay for professors, inadequate budgets, and the need to develop educational services and maintain their quality.
“We have inherited a heavy legacy of problems and obstacles we are trying hard to overcome in order to ensure educational reform and fulfill the hopes and aspirations of Libyans,” Al-Qeeb said in an online interview with Al-Fanar Media.
A lack of financial resources, however, constitutes the main challenge for the minister in carrying out his aspired reforms.
Al-Qeeb is working against a backdrop of turbulent political and financial conditions that have beset Libya since the outbreak of the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. This instability has been exacerbated by a division between rival governments in East and West Libya, a deteriorating economy despite the country’s oil wealth, and the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some positive changes appear to be looming on the horizon, especially since the interim national unity government officially took power in mid-March, in preparation for holding legislative and presidential elections by the end of this year.
The hope is that the installation of the interim authority and the coming elections will end the country’s division between the east, the seat of a parliament backed by an army led by the renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, and the west, the seat of the former internationally recognized Government of National Accord. Negotiations on unifying the country armed forces, however, have recently stalled.