This year I had the amazing opportunity to go to Libya to give a plenary at a conference. While there I did a little asking around about English teaching there. This is the first of my Six Things about teaching in a particular country. I should note here that this is not intended as a guide for prospective teachers wishing to travel abroad. I am more interested in work by teachers from the country itself. Being there for a limited time meant that I couldn’t get really in depth information, but what I could glean I share here.
1. When is English taught? English is a mandatory subject from the 5th grade of Elementary school in Libya. The academic year in Libya begins in September and finishes in May.
2. How does one become a language teacher in Libya? To become a language teacher in Libya in the state system, one needs to study in either a teacher training college or a language college. These are four-year programmes of academic study.
3. How much do teachers make? An English language teacher who has bachelor degree and works in the public sector gets between 400-600 LD (Libyan dinars) per month. On the other hand, the estimated payment for private sector teacher is between 1500 –3000 LD per-month depending on their qualifications and experiences. (1 euro = 1.7 dinars)
4. Where does the majority of English language teaching take place? The majority of language teaching takes place in Tripoli. However there is a growing market in Benghazi. Most of the students are employed by oil companies or are people who wish to work in the oil business.
5. Teacher training? Teacher development programmes? There is very little by way of teacher training schemes. There are a few seminars and workshops done by Teachers Forum or by the Academy of post graduate studies. The British Council also does some teacher training for language teachers. There is an annual conference.
6. Who are the teachers? The majority of language teachers in Libya are Libyan. However, most of the foreigners who are working in the field are English, Indian and, curiously, Iraqi.
Many thanks to Samer Hamdi, training manager at Alalameya Centre and Magda Al-Sharef Giornazi, Macmillan representative for their assistance as well as the other Libyan teachers I met who helped me with this list.