Education System of Tunisia

Tunisia is located in northernmost part of Africa. The country is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea along its east and north, Algeria to the west, and Libya to the Southeast.  The Ministry of Education is responsible for the basic and secondary education, while the Ministry of Higher Education is responsible for administering the higher education in Tunisia. Tunisian education system is based on the French model that emphasized on Arabizing the curriculum.

Tunisia Educational Background

In 1956, Tunisia got independence from French, and since then the education sector of Tunisia has progressed. In 1958, law on education was passed, and many of the institutions were nationalized. Also, in the same year, schooling was made compulsory and free of charge. This law focuses on vocational and technical education as well. After some time, a higher education law was passed. As per this law, all the government recognized higher education institutions were put under the University of Tunis. The University of Tunis was set up in 1960. In 1969, a higher education law was passed. As per this law, all the government-recognized higher education institutions came under the “university”. The institutes, faculties and schools were separated into different universities, and after sometime were transformed into new universities. 

In 1970, all subjects were Arabized in school level education, except technical and vocational educational tracks. In 1990-91, a New Education Act was put forward. As per this act, the length of instruction at the basic and secondary educational levels was increased from 12 to 13 years. Also, basic education was made compulsory for pupils aged 6 to 16. In 2000, a competency-based approach was introduced in school curricula.

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)/Preschool Education

Preschool education in Tunisia is for children aged 3 to 6 years. This level of education is optional, and is offered by kindergartens, kouttabs, and other preschool educational institutions. 

Basic Education (Enseignement de base)

Basic education in Tunisia is compulsory to attend and lasts for 9 years. This level of education is split up into 2 stages:
  • Primary education: This educational level lasts for 6 years, and provide basics in written and oral expression, as well as arithmetic and reading.
  • Lower secondary/preparatory education: This educational level lasts for 3 years, and deepens the basic education. Also, it develops the communication skills of the students in Arabic and 2 foreign languages. 

Certificate Awarded: At the end of basic education, pupils must undertake a national examination (examen national de fin d’etudes), and those who pass the exam are awarded a diploma/certificate of basic education (Diplome de Fin d’Etudes de l’Enseignement). 

Secondary Education (Upper Secondary Education)

Students who have successfully completed lower secondary education are eligible for secondary education in Tunisia. Secondary education in Tunisia lasts for 4 years. This level of education is divided into 2 stages, of 2 years each:
  • General academic secondary education
  • Specialized secondary education
Students undertake the general education at the general academic secondary education level, and after completion of this level students are given the option to choose their specialization area at the specialized secondary education level. 
Students after completion of the upper secondary education can go for higher education or join the workforce. 

General Academic Secondary Education

A core curriculum is followed for 1 year in general academic stream, and after that students get to select one specialization area from 5 options available: arts and language, economics, technology, management and sciences. Those specializing in science have to choose from- technical and technological science, math, computer science or experimental science. 

Examination: At the end of general academic stream, students must sit for a Tunisian Baccalaureate exam (Examen National du Baccalaureat)

Vocational and Technical Secondary Education

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). After finishing first 2 years of upper secondary education, students 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).

Higher Education

Higher education in Tunisia is offered by universities and higher institutes. There are both public as well private higher education institutions in Tunisia. 

Higher Education Qualifications

Following are the Tunisian higher education qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degree: This degree required 3 years of full-time study.
  • Master’s degree: This degree last for 2 years
  • Doctoral degree: This degree last for 3-5 years, depending on the field of study. 
For more information on the education system of Tunisia, read the post "Tunisia Education Overview".

Admission Requirements

Students must hold a Tunisian Baccalaureate diploma (Diplome du Baccalaureat) in order to enter higher education in Tunisia. The admission procedure in Tunisia is centrally managed through a National University Orientation System (systeme national d’orientation universitaire). To know in detail about the admission requirements and procedure for higher education in Tunisia, click here

International Students in Tunisia

Entry requirements: A visa is needed in order to enter Tunisia for study. 

Language requirements: International students are required to demonstrate a working knowledge of French or Arabic. 

Study and Living: The cost of study and living vary. Tunisia is an affordable destination for studying and living.
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