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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 97-98

COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on education in Libya

1 Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Faculty of Medical Technology, The University of Tripoli; Consultant and Training Center, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya
2 Consultant and Training Center, University of Tripoli; Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, the University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya

Date of Submission08-May-2020
Date of Acceptance29-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication21-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ahmed Atia
Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Faculty of Medical Technology, The University of Tripoli, Tripoli
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/LJMS.LJMS_42_20

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How to cite this article:
Atia A, Ganoun A. COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on education in Libya. Libyan J Med Sci 2020;4:97-8

How to cite this URL:
Atia A, Ganoun A. COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on education in Libya. Libyan J Med Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Feb 3];4:97-8. Available from: https://www.ljmsonline.com/text.asp?2020/4/3/97/295611

In December, 2019, a local epidemic of novel pneumonia disease in Wuhan, Hubei province, China caused by a novel coronavirus, namely severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus 2.[1] On Feb 11, 2020, WHO renamed the disease as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since that, COVID-19 outbreak has speedily transitioned into a global pandemic.[2] This emerged disease has had serious inferences for public institutions and particularly for educational institutes.

On March 18, 2020, the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization reported that around 107 countries had applied national school closures in response to COVID-19, disturbing 862 million student populations worldwide.[3] The closures of schools are based on the response to reduce public contacts between students and thus disturb the disease transmission.[4]

The worldwide spread of COVID-19 is prompting a series of public health responses. School closures are considering among the community distancing actions used by policy makers to reduce the spread of an infectious disease. Many countries in the world have started a countrywide educational institute closure, with the goal of averting contacts among students and hence reduce cases. Nevertheless, closing institute has disadvantages, even if the only goal of the measure is to save lives during an epidemic.[5]

Educational institutional closure strategies might be national, regional, or reactive closure of specific schools in response to student infection rates. The ministry of education in Libya, in a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, had implemented national school closures by March 15, 2020, and this suspension might extend as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, which could lead to students getting reduced exposure in their classes, causing a negative effect on the learning process and exam performance.[6] In fact, there is a considerable number of students are in the process of preparing for or undertaking examination that require social contact and exposure.

As a consequence, several teaching institute in Libya have started online learning strategies by using the academic online platforms to stay connected with their students. For instance, the Research, Consultant and Training Center (RCC) of the University of Tripoli (UOT), Libya has encouraged students and academic staff members to use the available online resources to complete their teaching tasks. As the UOT used the Microsoft (MS) Office 365, the RCC supervise and perform the needed training of students and staff members for using applications which found within that platform and which can assist in online learning like MS Teams, MS OneDrive, MS Class Notebook and other applications.[7] Other approach considered by the UOT is to take advantage of initiatives for learning online in response to coronavirus from many institutions like from Coursera which provides a free access to over 3800 courses from leading universities and corporations.[8] RCC manage the registration of UOT students in Coursera system and evaluate the performance of the learning process.

Educational institute closures can affect the mortality rate during an outbreak positively through reducing the number of cases and the outbreak spread. Previous studies reported that the mean number of daily social contacts during school holiday are almost half that of school term days; although, public contacts continue and socializing between individuals actually increases during holidays and school closures.[9],[10] Another study in France reported that prolonged school closures could decrease cases of H5N1 influenza by 13%–17%.[11] Furthermore, studies concluded that schools are potential places for disease transmission on the basis of contact patterns of flu-like pathogens among US individuals. Nevertheless, that voluntary social changes, without obligatory closures, seemed to diminish infected cases of the 2009 H1N1 influenza by 10%–13%.[12]

Even with widespread fear and uncertainty, the educational community in Libya must wonder about the steps should be considered to maintain the continuality of education during pandemics. Libyan authorities could benefit from the experience of SARS on medical education in China.[13] Some Chinese schools officially cancelled formal teaching on wards and their exams were postponed, hindering the education of students in the aspect of the emerging outbreak.[13] Likewise, in Canada, the influence of the SARS delayed the study for up to 6 weeks.[14] Moreover, progresses in medical education as a consequence of disruptive moments are expected. Adhering to the medical curriculum that emphasis on pandemic demonstrating, infection control, public health, and telehealth are needed. Students and instructors can assist in recording and investigating the impact of current changes to learn and apply new principles and practices to the future.

It is uncertain how long countries can uphold tight suppression procedures before behavioral tiredness in the population arises. Given that social distancing actions might stay for many months or even years, there is a crucial need to recognize how countries can safely return students to education. Once the level of COVID-19 cases starts to fall, the actions used to attain suppression might evolve over time. It will be crucial for studies to screen the consequence of the reopening of schools on the numbers of COVID-19 cases. Academic scholars and policy makers should also be involved in investigating other school social distancing interventions that are much less disruptive than completely school closure and might significantly evolved to preserving the control of this pandemic. Observational studies are instantly desirable to guide policy on the opening of schools once the pandemic is under control.

  References Top

Andersen KG, Rambaut A, Lipkin WI, Holmes EC, Garry RF. The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2. Nat Med 2020;450-455.  Back to cited text no. 1
Zhou P, Yang XL, Wang XG, Hu B, Zhang L, Zhang W, et al. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature 2020;579:270-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response; 2020. Available from: https://en.unesco.org/themes/education-emergencies/coronavirus-schoolclosures. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 19].  Back to cited text no. 3
Jackson C, Vynnycky E, Mangtani P. The relationship between school holidays and transmission of influenza in England and wales. Am J Epidemiol 2016;184:644-51.  Back to cited text no. 4
Bayham J, Fenichel EP. The Impact of School Closure for COVID-19 on the US Healthcare Workforce and the Net Mortality Effects. medRxiv 2020; [doi: 10.1101/2020.03.09.20033415].  Back to cited text no. 5
Ministry of Education Suspends Schools as a Precautionary Measure against Coronavirus. Available from: https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/ministry-education-suspends-schools-precautionary-measure- against-coronavirus. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 12].  Back to cited text no. 6
Introducing Microsoft 365. Available from: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365?rtc=1. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 12].  Back to cited text no. 7
Eames KT, Tilston NL, White PJ, Adams E, Edmunds WJ. The impact of illness and the impact of school closure on social contact patterns. Health Technol Assess 2010;14:267-312.  Back to cited text no. 9
Brooks SK, Smith LE, Webster RK, Weston D, Woodland L, Hall I, et al. The Impact of Unplanned School Closure on Children's Social Contact: Rapid Evidence Review. OSF Preprints; 2020.  Back to cited text no. 10
Cauchemez S, Valleron AJ, Boëlle PY, Flahault A, Ferguson NM. Estimating the impact of school closure on influenza transmission from Sentinel data. Nature 2008;452:750-4.  Back to cited text no. 11
Bayham J, Kuminoff NV, Gunn Q, Fenichel EP. Measured voluntary avoidance behaviour during the 2009 A/H1N1 epidemic. Proc Biol Sci 2015;282:20150814.  Back to cited text no. 12
Patil NG, Chan Y, Yan H. SARS and its effect on medical education in Hong Kong. Med Educ 2003;37:1127-8.  Back to cited text no. 13
Clark J. Fear of SARS thwarts medical education in Toronto. BMJ 2003;326:784.  Back to cited text no. 14


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