Tripoli, 18 April 2013:
As the three-day trade visit by British universities drew to a close yesterday, both Libyan representatives and the UK delegates were unanimous in seeing higher education partnerships as the way forward.
“We are very glad to have these university representatives here in Libya,” Director of Universities Administration for the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Jamal Elfardag told the Libya Herald.
“We are very ambitious for partnerships with UK institutions,” he added.
The delegation, he said, had made visits to Tripoli University and the Libyan Academy and had met representatives from a number of Libyan universities to discuss how this could work.
“We want to do staff and student exchanges,” Elfardag said “and we are interested in following joint degree and PhD programmes.”
The UK Higher Education International Unit director, Joanna Newman, said that British universities were very interested in building long-term partnerships with Libya. This trade visit was massively oversubscribed, she said, with over 40 educational companies and institutions expressing interest.
Numbers were limited to some 20 organisations but, even so, Newman said that this was the largest UK delegation to Libya in recent years.
Many institutions had worked in Libya before the revolution. Academic Partnership Manager for Coventry University, Philip Goddard, said: “This trip is a first step back for many UK universities, establishing whether it’s okay to come back now.” He added that the Libyan government gave students generous scholarships to pursue their studies abroad.
Louise Clayton was representing the Training Gateway, which links UK universities with different organisations to generate partnerships. Representing eight British universities, she has been assessing the needs and viability of doing business in Libya in the area of healthcare training.
“The priorities we see here are around leadership and management,” Clayton told the Libya Herald. “Other potential areas for collaboration are English language, nursing training and teacher training around professionalism and regulation.”
The chairman of the Libyan National Board for Technical and Vocational Education (NBTVE), Mokhtar Jwaili, confirmed that there would be five leadership and healthcare scholarships for Libyans.
“What’s really good about this British delegation is that it sends out a positive message,” director of the British Council, Cherry Gough, told the Libya Herald. “It has been great seeing people revive past relations and rediscover old friends.” She added that everybody was very positive about the future. [/restrict]