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The Tunisia K-12 Education System

The Ministry of Education administers the basic and secondary education in Tunisia. Compulsory education in Tunisia last for 9 years, and is guaranteed for all children aged between 6 and 15.  

Understanding the Tunisian K-12 Education System

Pre-primary Education

Pre-primary education in Tunisia is optional, and is offered by nursery schools and kindergartens. Pre-primary education develops basic communication skills and abilities. Several playful activities are organized- music, dance, theatre, visual arts, games, gardening, crafts, etc. A school-type environment is introduced at this educational level. 
The pre-primary education in Tunisia are offered in following settings-

Nurseries are for children up to the age of 3.

Kindergartens are for children aged 3 to 6 years. These are socio-educational institutions that are administered by the Ministry of Women, Family and Childhood. Kindergartens in Tunisia are part of either private sector, or semi-public local authorities.  

Kouttabs: These are religious educational institutions that emphasize on learning of the Quran, along with the reading, writing and arithmetic. These cater to children aged 3 to 5/6 years.  The kouttab are administered by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Preparatory year: The preparatory year is a vital component of basic education in Tunisia. This part is not mandatory to attend and is offered in public, quasi-public and private primary schools. The preparatory year is administered by the Ministry of Education of Tunisia.

School Schedule: Kindergartens in Tunisia generally run from 8:30 am to 11:30 am, or 2:30pm to 4:30pm.  

Basic Education (Enseignement de base)

Basic education in Tunisia is compulsory to attend. 
  • Duration: 9 years
  • Ages: 6 to 15
  • Grades: 1 to 9
This educational level is divided into cycles of 2 years each: 
  • Primary education
  • Lower secondary education
The scientific, social, artistic and technical disciplines at the basic education level are taught in Arabic. 

Primary Education

Primary education in Tunisia provides fundamental knowledge of arithmetic, reading, writing and speaking. Also, artistic, religious and civic education is taught in Tunisian primary schools. 
  • Duration: 6 years
  • Ages: 6 to 12
  • Grades: 1 to 6
Curriculum: History, Arabic language, civics, mathematics, French, technical education, Islamic studies, music, scientific awareness, geography, physical education, and art education. 

Preparatory Education/ Lower Secondary Education

The lower secondary education develops practical and intellectual skills. 
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Ages: 12 to 15
  • Grades: 7 to 9
Curriculum: Mathematics, Arabic language, Islamic education, history, French, natural sciences, art, physical education, geography, English, civics, technical education, and music. 

Examination

At the end of the 9-year basic education, pupils must undertake a national examination (examen national de fin d’etudes de l’enseignement de base). An average score of 10 out of 20 is required. Students who pass the examination are awarded a diploma of basic education- Diplome de Fin d’Etudes de l’Enseignement de Base. 

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Tunisia is optional. Students who hold the Diplome de Fin d’Etudes de l’Enseignement de Base are eligible for upper secondary education in Tunisia. This education level is divided into 2 stages of 2 years each:
  • General academic
  • Specialized education
Secondary education in Tunisia prepares pupils for university-level studies or for employment.
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Grades: 9 to 12
  • Ages: 15 to 19

General Academic Secondary Education

The general academic secondary education last for 2 years. At this secondary education level, a common curriculum is followed.

The first year of the secondary education in Tunisia is core and helps the pupils to select one orientation that matches their abilities and interest. The second year comprises of 4 tracks-science, technology, letters (language and arts), and services and economics. 

Specialized Education

The third and fourth year comprises of 6 pathways, students have to select one from the 6 pathways- management and economics, letters, technological and technical sciences, math, computer science, and experimental sciences. 

The medium of instruction in the field of math, sciences and technical is French. Rest all subjects are taught in Arabic, except the foreign languages.

Curriculum:

For letter, management and economics field- Geography, French, Islamic studies, history, mathematics, Arabic language, civic education, management, history, physical science, English, philosophy, technology, economy, data processing, earth and life sciences, and physical education. 

For math and experimental sciences fields: English, Islamic thought, Arabic language, geography, physical science, French, civic education, mathematics, history, philosophy, technology, and earth and life sciences. 

For technical sciences and computer science field: Mathematics, French, history, Arabic language, Islamic thought, English, ICT, civic education, geography, physical science, technology, data base, philosophy, algorithms programming, earth and life sciences, data processing, and systems and networks. 

Examination

At the end of secondary education, pupils must sit for the baccalaureate exam (Examen National du Baccalaureat).  

Certificate awarded: Diplome du Baccalaureat (with stream..)

Vocational and Technical Secondary Education Track

The Ministry of Employment manages the vocational and professional courses of study. There are 2-year vocational courses that lead to the Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle (CAP). Pupils who have finished first 2 years of secondary education or scored 12 out of 20 on CAP,can go for 2-year vocational programmes that lead to the award of Professional Technician Certificate (Brevet de Technicien Professionnel). Students who pass the professional tecnhincian certificate are eligible for 2-year higher technical programmes (Brevet de Technicien Superieur, or BTS).
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