News24

Libyan schools to teach anti-Gaddafi revolt

2012-01-07 20:19

Tripoli - Libya's 1.2 million schoolchildren returned to classrooms nationwide on Saturday, to learn a revamped curriculum that includes the revolution that ousted Muammar Gaddafii and purges his personal teachings.

The country's old textbooks have been revised to eliminate chapters that "glorified" Gaddafi with new material added on the nine-month conflict that led to his downfall and death, Education Minister Suleyman Ali al-Saheli told AFP.

"We will not repeat the same mistakes. Our children will study the entire conflict, including details of Gaddafi's death," Saheli said on the sidelines of an event marking the start of the national school year.

"For sure they will study what happened in Libya last year."

The bloody rebellion which erupted last February saw tens of thousands of Libyan men, backed by Nato forces, take up arms against Gaddafi, who was killed on October 20 following a conflict that left thousands of people dead.

Saheli said that during his four-decade regime, Gaddafi "distorted history" to cast himself in a favourable light.

"Libyan history was changed under him. Libya's genuine history was never taught," he told a gathering in the Ali Shams school in Tripoli's once-notorious Abu Salim neighbourhood.

Abu Salim was a former Gaddafi bastion that included an infamous prison where some political activists who opposed Gaddafi were held.

Large swathes of the neighbourhood were reduced to rubble when Gaddafi diehards battled former rebels in August, in the days before Tripoli fell.

"Gaddafi's political teachings, military teachings and the subject of al-Jamahiriya are being dropped from the new curriculum," Saheli told the gathering of children, teachers and officials from the United Nations children's fund, Unicef.

Lack of funding

Gaddafi-era schools were forced to teach from his "Green Book" which contained the slain dictator's views on politics, the military and economics, and Saheli said Libya faced several "difficulties" in reforming a system previously dominated by Gaddafi's teachings.

"One of the activities of teachers in the past was to glorify the tyrant. Now we will make teachers aware of the educational activities and focus on the growth of children," the minister said.

"Schools have been damaged and there is lack of funding. All this has led to delays in getting books to children on time," he said.

Schools in several Libyan towns and cities - including in Benghazi where the uprising first erupted and in Gaddafi's hometown Sirte - were severely damaged during the conflict.

The new government's education authorities said the academic year that started on Saturday was organised to make up for classes lost to the conflict.

"This special academic year will run up to June," Deputy Education Minister Suleyman al-Khoja told AFP.

"And then from September 15 we will have the full new academic year up to June 2013."

Unicef said in a statement that more than "1.2 million children" were returning to class from Saturday, 10 months after schools were forced to close because of the fighting.

Some schools reopened during in the conflict, notably in Benghazi, a stronghold of anti-Gaddafi forces, but Saturday marked the official restart of classes nationwide.

Unicef said that a total of 27 million textbooks are being printed, 10 million of which are already being distributed by the education ministry.

However challenges remain, such as "the plight of the displaced [students], a shortage of desks and books and transport for children to and from schools," Unicef added.

Comments
  • Dave - 2012-01-07 20:25

    History is always written, re-written, by the victorious political faction.

  • Ben S - 2012-01-07 20:28

    As long as they teach the truth. It is very important to know the truth about the past in order to make educated decisions about the future.

  • Graziella - 2012-01-07 21:01

    The history of the defeated and the subjugated, will be buried, along with their unnamed, uncounted dead, who paid the price for the decisions of 'leaders', living and breathing, thousands of miles from from their unmarked graves.

  • Mehluli - 2012-01-07 21:21

    American propaganda at work in a foreign land.will that change the perspective Muslims have on America.Saddam was supported by American on his atrocities in 1979 coup,but later turned against America.Osama bin Laden was trained by America in their quest to destroy USSR but later he turned against America.History will repeat itself,the current Libyan rulers will turn against the Americans when the time is right.

  • Sam - 2012-01-07 21:39

    Schools have been damaged and there is lack of funding. All this has led to delays in getting books to children on time," he said. ----------------------------------- now you are sobber you can see your madness, easy to destroy difficult to build

  • Comrade - 2012-01-07 21:54

    I like this....We should follow. Anti ANC or Anti Malema should be compulsory .

  • sadiemy - 2012-01-07 23:41

    Here in a relatively stable South Africa we cannot even get available textbooks to our kids within the year, while Libya has managed to rewrite a curriculum and hand out the new books in a few weeks. "Now we will make teachers aware of the educational activities and focus on the growth of children," the minister said. "Unicef said that a total of 27 million textbooks are being printed, 10 million of which are already being distributed by the education ministry."

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