Education Sector Reforms

Tunisian education system was built on the French model, therefore, the focus of the education reformers was to Arabize curriculum and faculty at nation's schools and universities. Tunisia adopted a phased approach towards Arabization . Given the number of Francophone nationals and the absence of qualified Arabized teachers to teach scientific subjects, policy makers maintained French both as foreign language and as a medium of instruction for math and science in primary education. Humanities and social sciences were Arabized incrementally, initially in primary and subsequently in secondary education. In the 1970s, the decision was made to extend Arabization to all subjects in post-primary education, except vocational, professional, and technical tracks. At the university level French was maintained as the language of instruction in technical institutes and science faculties. There have also been several other reforms since independence to further improve the education system at all levels:

1)Education is an important Law that actually passed in 1958 emphasized technical and vocational education, and the training of a new breed of educators who are qualified to teach the new curriculum emphasizing Arabic language, literature, Islamic thought and history and geography of the Tunisian and North African region.

2)Then a Higher Education Law was passed that placed all government recognized institutions of higher learning and scientific research under the umbrella of University of Tunis, an institute that was established in 1960, by incorporating several existing higher schools and institutes.

3)In the academic year of 1990-91, the New Education Act introduced an increased length of instruction at the primary and secondary levels from 12 to a total of 13 years. It also made it mandatory for students of ages between 6-16 years of age to attain basic education training.

4)Tunisia introduced competency-based approach in school curriculum in 2000, and revised textbooks accordingly.

5) The 2002 Education Act emphasized the importance of ICT in the education sector.