International Education

Higher Education in TunisiaTunisia has a strong higher education system made up of over 200 institutions which include public universities, Institutes of Technological Studies and other subject-specific schools as well some private higher education institutions. All higher education institutions are under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. In an effort to support economic growth, Tunisia has put special emphasis on science and technology education at the tertiary level. There have been large investments made in technical infrastructure and educational and research resources to meet their goals. Additionally, overall growth in higher education has been substantial in recent years with the number of higher education teachers and researchers tripling over the eight years ending in 2008. Admissions to the public universities and institutes is centrally controlled and placements are made based upon student preferences, exam scores, secondary school coursework and the quotas set for each field of study and institution. As a result, students are often assigned to a school and program that is not ideal. Tuition at public universities is minimal as a result of substantial funding from the Tunisian government. Private institutions charge reasonable tuition fees. Types of Schools and DegreesAs of 2010, public institutions included 13 universities, 24 Institutes of Technological Studies and 6 teacher training institutes. The remaining public higher education institutions are subject-specific and exist under the umbrella of a university. There are also about 20 private institutions which generally focus on professional and vocational subject areas. As a result of recent reforms, universities now offer degrees that correspond to the European's degree system as defined by the Bologna Agreement, which created standards for degrees across Europe. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees are all available and some schools also offer old-style degrees as well. International StudentsThe number of foreign students who attend public institutions in Tunisia is in the hundreds. Admissions are based on the existence of agreements between a country and the Tunisian Ministry of Education and Research and quotas which are defined for each country. Students attend as full-degree students or through exchange programs with schools in a number of countries. Courses are taught in Arabic and French. Foreign students may also choose to study at a private institution or to study Arabic through an independent language program. Private institutions determine their own criteria for admitting foreign students. About TunisiaTunisia is a country of 10 million located in the northernmost part of Africa. The northern part of the country has a temperate climate while the south is semiarid and merges into the Sahara desert. It is governed by an authoritarian regime that has limited political and press freedoms. However, it maintains a pro-western foreign policy and close relationships with the European Union and France in particular. The official language is Arabic although French is spoken extensively. Tunisia has one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa and the Middle East and has the most competitive economy in Africa. Its strong and diverse economy includes agriculture, mining, manufacturing, petroleum products and tourism. Education is the government's number one priority, as indicated by high government expenditures and ongoing reforms. The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report of 2008-2009 rated Tunisia's higher education system 17th in the world. ResourcesHigher Education and Scientific Research in Tunisia
Travel and Tourism Guide to Tunisia