Libya’s Minister of Education in custody due to … lack of textbooks

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Libya’s education minister was detained today as part of an investigation into a lack of textbooks in the country, where many public services are down due to years of chaos.

Musa al-Megariyev was detained for “negligence in the performance of his duties,” the attorney general said in a statement. The prosecutor’s office had launched an investigation to clarify the circumstances under which the contracts for printing the textbooks were signed and the reasons for their lack, he added.

Many other officials, including the Minister of Planning.

Libyans experience the effects of the political crisis that has hit the country since the fall of its regime Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011. The local currency depreciated, power outages are a chronic problem, queues at banks and gas stations are endless. For weeks now, students’ parents have had no choice but to use photocopies instead of books. “I have three children in primary school and it costs me hundreds of dinars to make photocopies of all the books,” said Zakia Abdelsamad, a secretary at a private clinic in Tripoli, speaking by telephone to Agence France-Presse.

Many bookstores in the capital have taken advantage of the situation and are selling photocopies of textbooks at high prices, according to an agency reporter.

The Libyan government approves an annual budget each year for the printing of textbooks, which are distributed free of charge to public schools. This year, however, the amount was given with a delay, resulting in shortages at the beginning of the school year.

Before his arrest the Minister of Education attributed the delay in the process of consolidating the content of the school curriculum in the three regions of Libya (west, east and south). The ministry has uploaded the books in PDF format on its website from where those interested can download them.

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