Tripoli, 22 September 2013:
Former revolutionary fighters are to be sent to a Malaysian university for a year’s study focusing on English and computer science.
Some 500 thuwar will begin their learning next year at the Open University of Malaysia, (OUM) according to the Director-General of the Warriors’ Affairs Commission of Libya (WAC) Mustafa Abdi Wahab Al Saqli. Altogether, the plan is to send 2,000 Libyans to Malaysia over four years.
The privately-run OUM opened in 2001 and says that it now has over 100,000 students in more than 50 academic programmes. Its main campus is in Kuala Lumpur but it has expanded to 36 other learning centres throughout Malaysia. Following other Open University models, it has a mix of distance and face-to-face teaching.
Saqli went to the OUM’s Kuala Lumpur campus on Friday to sign the agreement for the training of the thuwar. He said: “ Only education can help to transform these young people from revolutionaries to people with ambitions, who can help guide Libya to a brighter future”.
In the past other groups of Libyan students have studied in Malaysia. However last October, some 200 Libyans working for degrees in the country protested that after the Revolution their grants had been cut off. A small group occupied the Libyan embassy and went on hunger strike.
The withdrawal of the scholarships was based on orders from the Overseas Training and Scholarship Administration, which falls under the authority of the Higher Education Ministry. Those affected were mainly PhD students who were more than half way through their programme of studies.
At one point to Libyan ambassador Abu Bakr Al-Mansouri had Malaysian police arrest the demonstrators in an action that was later condemned by the National Transitional Council in Tripoli, leading to the release of the protestors. [/restrict]