Higher Education in Tunisia:
This is a brief article from the Borgen Project that explains some simple statistics about the current state of education in Tunisia. From reading this brief article it is obvious that Tunisia has an education system that they should be commended on. The government has made it obvious that they want a literate society, as the article will tell you that between the young people between the ages of 15-24, they have a literacy rate of over 96%, that is for men and women. This is an education system that values not only men learning, but women as well. They are 93rd in the world in literacy rates, and 69th in the world in access to basic education. These numbers are on also on the upswing, as the Tunisian government puts more money into the education system of the country.
This article is a bit of a contrast piece on the state of education in Tunisia. It shows that while the government does heavily invest in the education of its youth and young adults, that there are growing pains in how the education system is seen by all. Students in year two classes (high school equivalent in the US) are complaining about class size and homework loads being given to them. The article further quotes teachers as raising concerns over the amount of tests and examinations being given to students. They are concerned that they students are not concentrating hard enough on their early class sessions when they know they have yet another exam coming up in the afternoon sessions. The contrast is the Tunisian government feels that some of the changes imposed on the students are necessary to keep up with the world in making sure its students are ready to take advanced courses at home universities and abroad. In this article the students have put themselves on strike and are requesting that the government and education minister consult with them as to their concerns instead of just rolling out all the school reforms at once, the students do concede that some of the reforms need to happen, but the are also asking that it be done at a slower pace and not all at once in order to give them time to adjust to the changes.
To me the education system in Tunisia is one to sort of be envied by Americans. It is based off the French system, since France has so heavily influenced a lot of Tunisia with their former occupation of the country. The fact that the Tunisian government spends 15% of its budget on education is mind blowing to me. Also the literacy rates and mandated education for men and women is mandatory from ages of 6-16, its an amazing statistic. The article where students are protesting the way the education system is run, is a serious issue, but also funny to me in a sad way. The students are protesting overcrowding of classrooms, one student complained that there were 28 students in one class, for a normal American high school, this is a norm, not an exception. While many will tell you that we have a problem with overcrowding also, and most people acknowledge this, it is not something that will have students out in the street protesting over. Also the number of exams that students in Tunisia take, while a lot, are also not that different from a typical American school systems exam schedule. In fact, I would hate to see their reaction if they had to take all of the standardized exams that American students have to take. While I am in no way diminishing the issues, in fact I believe they do need to be addressed, to me this article just shows the stark contrast in how students in Tunisia believe they should be treated and how American students just know they will be treated. I find it very commendable that the government understands that the youth are the future of the country and are working hard to provide a good education for them.