Living and working in Libya
As life gets back to normal in Libya and expats return to the country, we spoke to Zina Ben Miled, founding member and executive manager at the newly-established Tripoli World Academy, to find out more about the school, and about the beautiful coastal city itself.
Could you introduce readers to your school?
The Tripoli World Academy is a new school that seeks to provide genuine quality education. The school is being established by parents and teachers, and aims to provide the best education to the highest standards for their children.
The school will start small, primarily offering foundation stage and Y1 through Y6. The plan is then to roll out the remaining years gradually. The five-year target is to become a fully-fledged primary and high school, with an accredited IB program on a different campus.
In addition to the core teaching, the Academy plans to offer EAL teaching for adults will be tailored to non-English speaking parents of students enrolled in the Academy in the hope of engaging them in their children’s education.
Tell us about the city of Tripoli…
Tripoli is a beautiful coastal city with a mild climate and an enjoyable, diversified atmosphere. The locals are warm and friendly and they are very hospitable to visitors. If you stop to ask a local directions, don’t be surprised if they invite you to lunch!
Golden sandy beaches run from east to west of the city and a 10-minute ride will take you from the school to the nearest one. The old city of Tripoli is a must-see destination, and there are several Greek and Roman historic sites about an hour’s drive from Tripoli.
So is life now getting back to normal after the uprising and regime change?
Libya has been through a major change and the Libyans are just now starting to recover from a terrible ordeal. There were many UK teachers in the country but most had to leave during the uprising. However, since the regime collapse, life is going back to normal. Visitors are starting to come back. As are some of the expats that were working in Libya. I would expect that by next September the number of expats from Europe and Asia will go back to its level prior to the uprising.
And what is life like in Tripoli now? Do you see signs of change towards democracy? Have services improved?
Anyone that enjoyed being in Tripoli and Libya before, will enjoy it even more now. The locals are more open and full of hope. They are enjoying their newly found freedom and are very active in the political arena.
Unfortunately services have not improved yet. In the past few months, the country was working towards restoring the services to their previous levels. That said and with the new, widespread enthusiasm in the country, I am confident that the services will be improving in the country.
Could you tell us a little about the area where the Academy itself is situated, and its facilities?
The Academy is located in Sarraj, an upscale suburb to the east of Tripoli and about 20 minutes from Tripoli Center and about 10 minutes from the beach.
What is the expected ‘market’ for the new Academy?
The Academy will cater for both locals and expats. I am expecting about a 50/50 mix. Furthermore, 70% of the students are expected to be non-native English speakers and therefore teachers with EAL experience are highly encouraged to apply.
Which syllabus will you teach?
The curriculum in the Academy will be based on the British stream.
What opportunities exist for UK teachers – and others working in education – to live and work in Libya generally now?
In the near future, I am confident that there will be several opportunities in the education sector in Libya. Several schools, such as the Tripoli World Academy, will open in other cities across the country. I also believe that local universities will now be able to recruit in the UK and Europe.
And to work at your Academy specifically?
The Tripoli World Academy has eight teaching positions open for the academic year 2012/2013 and we expect the number of teaching positions to ramp up to about 40 within the next three years.
What would the major appeal be for someone coming from the UK? And is it a safe place to be?
Libya is a diverse and culturally rich country. For someone coming from the UK, Tripoli will seem like country living while not being far away from the city. Compared to most major western cities, Tripoli is a safe place to work and live.
And what are some of the drawbacks, compared with living and working in the UK?
While the country just came out of a war, Tripoli has not seen major damages. However, other cities to the east and west have incurred substantial damage.
That said, compared with living and working in the UK, working and living in Tripoli is stress free and does not have the pressure of the fast lane pace.
What kind of candidates are you looking for, and how would the interview process take place?
We are looking for experienced and qualified teachers that have a genuine interest in EAL teaching and are eager to impart knowledge onto a bright and internationally diverse student community.
Once the short list of candidates is finalised, a phone or skype interview will be scheduled. There may be several rounds until all positions are filled.
What support do you offer new teachers?
New teachers will be offered the logistical support needed in order to make them comfortable in their new setting as quickly as possible.
What languages are spoken?
Arabic is the main language in the country. While learning a new language can only enrich the experience of a teacher, locals are often too pleased to speak in English.
Are there any particular cultural and social aspects that Brits might want to know about before applying?
The country is a dry country and, with the exception of embassies, alcohol is not permitted into the country.
What else would you like to say to anyone contemplating teaching in Libya?
I have yet to meet someone that worked in Libya before that does not want to go back, given the opportunity!
View current opportunities at the Tripoli World Academy, find out more about the organisation, and join the Academy’s Talent Pool to be considered for future vacancies, from this link.