UN-backed government orders Libyan students abroad to return home after finishing studies

By Olfa Andolsi.

Tunis, 5 June 2017:

The education ministry under the UN-backed Presidency Council has said that Libyans being educated aboard must return home after finishing their studies or they will be prosecuted.

A statement by the ministry said the move was necessary so the students could contribute to the rebuilding of the country. It said it had noted a pattern of people studying abroad and not coming back to the “homeland”.

Under the decision, students will be required to work twice the amount of time in Libya that they studied abroad. For example, if they studied a year abroad, they would have to work for two years in Libya.

If they do not, they will have to return all the funding given to them by the Libyan government for their foreign tuition.

The decree is due to come into effect at the end of this month. The ministry has warned it will file lawsuits against those who do not comply.

The decision has attracted considerable criticism on social media, with many pointing out that at the moment, there are few opportunities for returning Libyan students and that it is not safe for many to return.

Ever since Qaddafi took power in 1969, Libya has had a history of young people going abroad to study and not coming back.

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