Since its independence in 1956, the government of Tunisia has focused on developing an education system, which produces a solid human capital base able to respond to the changing needs of a developing nation. The Constitution of the second republic adopted on the 26th of January 2014 has reaffirmed the importance of education by stating in the Article 39 that “Education shall be mandatory up to the age of sixteen years. The state guarantees the right to free public education at all levels and ensures provisions of the necessary resources to achieve a high quality of education, teaching, and training.
The French-based educational system in Tunisia follows the 20 points grading system and is architecture as follows:
- Pre-school Education
- Elementary education ( 6 years followed by a National Exam)
- Lower Secondary Education (3 years followed by a National Exam)
- Upper Secondary Education ( 4 years followed by the Baccalaureate National Exam)
The upper secondary education aims principally to preparing students for their undergraduate studies by offering them a range of specialties that would grant them a deeper understanding of the fields that they wish to pursue on a higher level. The curriculums are divided into two parts:
- 1st year: General Common curriculum for all students
- 3 remaining years: each student chooses a specialty among the available ones according to his/ her aptitude and wants.
The main languages of instruction in the Tunisian Educational system are Arabic AND French. English is also taught as a compulsory subject starting from the 6th year of elementary school and up to all degree courses in higher education.
The Tunisian Educational system grants all students in the upper secondary level the chance to choose an optional subject and most students usually pick a fourth foreign language over artistic subjects.
The options for the 4th foreign language are the following: German, Spanish, Russian; Chinese, Turkish, and Italian.
The Tunisian Baccalaureate National Exam, conducted at the end of the 4th year of upper secondary education, grants all students with passing grades the opportunity of enrolling in a university of their choice depending on their scores, accreditations, and upper secondary specialization.
Education is one of the pillars of the modern Tunisian state as ensured by constitution. The Adult literacy rate in Tunisia is 81.8% . This is due especially to education being free and compulsory to all students. There is a total of 294,486 students pursuing their higher education in Tunisia 89.58 % of which are enrolled in public universities.
There is a total of 13 universities with 293 campuses across the country. The most popular faculties for Tunisian students are: Business and Commerce, Law Studies, Informatics and Multimedia, Engineering and Technology, and Health Studies as 65.53% of all Tunisian students are enrolled in these branches.