By Olfa Andolsi.
Tunis, 15 November 2017:
The Presidency Council’s education minister Osman Abdel Jalil is shaking up the education system with longer teaching days, a simplification of textbooks, compulsory English lessons for primary students and, most eye-catching, the abolition of homework.
Though the ministry has not explained the thinking behind the end of homework, which will apply to Grade 1 to 8 (six to 14 year-olds), it seems to be a drive to get more intensive teaching in an extended teaching day which must now be a minimum of six hours.
Jalil also wants at least one extracurricular period every day, such as sports, music or art.
The minister also said in an 11-point statement that textbooks would be simplified and standardised. This follows a regular series of crises when, in advance of the new academic year, some school heads have complained they lacked school books.
From now on there will be a single Arabic language book for each elementary classes. “The focus will be on reading, writing and dictation … with the aim that the student at the end of the sixth grade can read and write in Arabic with ease and fluency” said the ministry.
There will be a similar pruning of text books for mathematics and science for early students. The existing history and geography books will also be axed, to be replaced, said the ministry, by “ simplified information in a small book focusing on important events in the history of Libya … It will examine Libya’s geographic location in its regional and global environment and will focus especially on the principles of national reconciliation, tolerance of all and peaceful coexistence”.
The ministry said that the principles of moderate Islam will be taught from Grade 1 to 3, focusing on the obligatory duties of worship and the culture of honesty and tolerance.