When Libya attained independence, about 90% of its population was illiterate, and there were few university graduates. Since then, the government has invested heavily in education, which is free at all levels. In 1985, the number of years of compulsory schooling was increased from 6 to 9 years. Projected illiteracy rates for the year 2000 stand at 20.2% (males, 9.1%; females, 32.4%). In 1994, primary schools had 1,357,040 pupils. Secondary schools had 310,556 pupils in 1992. Of these, 26,393 were in teacher training schools and 94,961 were in vocational schools. There has been a rapid increase in the number of students attending vocational schools, from 16,008 in 1980 to 118,564 in 1993.
The University of Libya at Tripoli was renamed Al-Fatah University in 1976. It had about 24,000 students in 1986. The University of Libya at Banghazi was renamed the University of Garyounis in 1976. Student enrollment (including an agricultural campus at Al-Bayda) totaled about 1,000 students. The Bright Star University of Technology at Marsa al-Brega was founded in 1981. There were also two higher institutes of technology and one of mechanical and electrical engineering. Total enrollment at all higher-level institutions was 72,899 in 1992. Approximately 46% of post-secondary students are female, up from 25% in 1980.