An investigation into the challenges faced by Libyan Phd students in Britain: [a study of the three Universities in Manchester and Salford]
, PhD thesis, Salford University.
As a developing country, Libya has prioritised the growth of human capital as a means to achieve the government’s Libyanisation programme. This concern for the country’s human development has been evident in its attempts to educate and train Libyan nationals in overseas establishments. However, despite Libya’s intention to benefit from established Higher Education systems internationally, the political difficulties that arose in 1993 did result in a serious setback. These particular problems emerged when UN sanctions were brought to bear on the country. The impact of such sanctions was evident in the subsequent years, when a drop occurred in the numbers of postgraduate students being funded for PhD programmes in both Britain and the United States, and as fewer students were sent to these countries, Libya naturally suffered since the national labour force did not progress in capability as much as had been hoped.
In April 2004, the last of the sanctions against Libya was lifted, since relations with Britain and the United States normalised, with the result that Libya’s economic development went ahead at full pace. This has been seen by growing investment in the economy by foreign investors, and a growth in the privatisation of manufacturing and service companies. Such moves and economic reform measures require appropriately qualified personnel, and large numbers of students once again began to be sent overseas (to Britain and America) for PhD study, marking a large investment on the part of the Libyan government.
However, it is clear that certainly in the UK, Libyan PhD students encounter many challenges which detract from their effective performance on their PhD programmes and which generally result in requests for extensions to their study. Consequently, this research project has investigated those challenges using a quantitative approach in which 150 questionnaires have been completed by Libyan PhD students within three UK universities. Of these questionnaires, 135 (90% response rate) usable returns have been processed questionnaires. Additionally, interviews were held with three officials in the Libyan Embassy for the purpose of triangulating the data obtained from the survey, and establishing overall statistics relating to the performance of Libyan nationals on PhD programmes in UK universities.
The findings reveal that Libyan PhD students face challenges that call into four different categories - English Language Difficulties, English Courses/Preparation, PhD Concern, and Family Commitment – and that within these, there are eleven separate factors that contribute to the problems encountered. Recommendations as to how these challenges can be reduced are offered.
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