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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

REPORT – Symposium on the reform of educational system: The Debate Outputs

REPORT – Symposium on the reform of educational system: The Debate Outputs

Symposium

The reform of educational system: The Debate Outputs
Thursday January 28th 2016
Africa Hotel

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Within the framework of the debates held by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, a Symposium entitled: the reform of educational system; the debate outputs. This event gathered a variety of participants namely: The minister of education: Neji Jalloul, the international expert of educational systems assessment: Dr. Mohamed Ben Fatma, Najib Zbidi: Head of Programs department in the ministry of education with two members of the assembly of the representatives of the people: Mrs. Hayat Omri and Imed Awled Jebryl. Other prominent political and civil society figures were present as well during this event.

01The president of CSID Dr. Radwan Masmoudi started the opening session by welcoming the participants and introducing the topic of the symposium as one of the follow up meetings for the national dialogue for the reform of the educational system. He added that there was a crucial need of a reform since it is related to one of the pivotal sectors in the country. For the keys of success for this reform Dr. Masmoudi stated some requirements: making the Tunisian student: proud of his nationality and identity, opened to other cultures, being able to make a constructive criticism and provide fruitful ideas. After that, the floor was given to Mr. Najib Al Zbidi the head of programs department in the ministry of education.

 

02Mr. Najib Zbidi pointed out at the beginning of his speech that there is a consensus on the points that have been referred to, pointing out that this the reform is one of the concerns that seized all the parties concerned to reform the educational system. He added that The Dialogue came in the framework of interaction with the many civil society organizations and various actors and it was launched by the Ministry of Education with the participation of Tunisian General Labour Union and the Arab Institute for Human Rights and it resulted to Many outputs and some of which are presented in the context of this seminar , including, the Call for mandatory schooling to the limits of the age of sixteen , the neutrality of the educational institution and the support of the human rights principles of the learner and to strengthen the balance personality of the learner and her/his rootedness in the identity and openness to others.

For the outputs of dialogue relating to the governance of the educational institution resources and governance disposition, it was a call to provide Equal opportunities, establishing Higher Council for Education and it should have regional councils mandatory, establishing an independent regulatory structure and establishing the Office of School Services oversees the school and mobility restaurants. At the level of educational approaches, it was a call for the systemic approach of the Platform, the Diversity of content and enhancing the role of Arabic and to have much concern on the evaluation system and its Consistency to the system of formations. Answering the question of school time Mr. Zbidi pointed to the trend towards to a system based on two weeks’ holiday between Semesters with a review of the timing of lessons and review the school guidance system.

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04The international expert in the assessment of educational systems Mohammed bin Fatima spoke about the failure of the educational system in Tunisia and this was marked in many international and local reports as the World Bank indicators about the success of the attached tutorial, the report on the quality of education in the countries of the Mediterranean basin which showed how Tunisia rolled to the bottom of the World rankings lists. Concerning the reform of the educational system, Mr. Mohammed ben Fatma criticized the absence of two things: a continued reform programs which are lost between ministers and a real evaluation of the present status of the educational system. About the proposals that came out of the national dialogue, Mr. Mohamed talked about the need for institutional and pedagogical reforms and the procedural or field reforms.

About the institutional reform, he said that it is the most fundamental reform that the one should start within the same context, Mr. Ben Fatma pointed to the need for a National Charter for Education and for establishing a Faculty to form people who can be responsible for Education but it cannot occur without legislative facilities. About a pedagogical reform, he insisted on giving programs a qualitative and not quantitative analysis rather than modulating programs as they were mentioned in previously published studies as the study done in 2012.

05The Minister of Education Mr. Naji Jalloul said that the educational reform is a Revolutionary maturity and it needs to be improved recalling the lower ranks that Tunisia has reached and he mentioned also the bad status of the infrastructure, the old educational programs and the violence existing in Tunisian schools and universities.

Mr. Naji Jalloul also criticized the marked decrease in the Ministry of Education resources the fact that deepened the educational system crisis and he mentioned also the Predominance of private tutoring system and the decrease of the competence level of teachers. Mr. Jalloul also insisted that the importance of the matter requires the biggest concern and the ministry tried hard to collaborate with all spectra actors mentioning that the educational system reform of 1991 failed because it was guided and it was overtaken by some university professors. He added that reform outcomes led to the accumulation of college graduates and holders of Certificates who are still unable to be integrated in the professional life and all that led to a total failure while trying to bring the Tunisian pupils and students to the grade of a good citizen. The Minister of Education criticized the reactions and the growing scepticism in the recent reforms of the review of school time and abandon the exams week. At the end of his intervention, the Minister of Education stressed the need of a dialogue based on the Tunisian cultural, intellectual and economic criteria and that meet the expectations of the Tunisian citizen.

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07Dr. Hayat Omri the Assembly of the representatives of people deputy highlighted that the constitutions provisions (articles 1,5,6,33,42 and 47) and the constitution preface could be adopted as a legal framework for the educational system reform. She talked also about the disastrous situation of the Tunisian school that manifests through the decline of graduated level and the widely speeded school dropout at early age, which reached more than one hundred thousand due to several factors: the weakness of educational programs, the absence of good governance and management of educational system and the deterioration of educational infrastructure. Dr. Omri considered that the outputs of the educational reform does not meet with the constitution provisions as the final declaration of this reform was drafted similarly to 2002 reform. She added that the first measures of reform were wrong since it is impossible to launch a reform without issuing a new outline act because of a fruitful and inclusive dialogue. Dr. Ouni concluded her intervention by calling to adopt a scientific approach to achieve the success of this reform.

08Concerning the intervention of the member of ARP deputies Mr. Imed weld Jebryl, he insisted that the reform requires drastic procedures with the importance of transferring this reform to people who are involved in education and it should not be neither Projections of superstructures nor transactions of people who are strange to the field of education. In the same context, he cautioned that this should not be a pretext for the exclusion of the other parties that aim to be a part of the process of the reform as he insisted on the importance to focus more on the lean content of the programs.

 

09Concerning the intervention of the member of ARP deputies Mr. Imed weld Jebryl, he insisted that the reform requires drastic procedures with the importance of transferring this reform to people who are involved in education and it should not be neither Projections of superstructures nor transactions of people who are strange to the field of education. In the same context, he cautioned that this should not be a pretext for the exclusion of the other parties that aim to be a part of the process of the reform as he insisted on the importance to focus more on the lean content of the programs.

 

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The debate session witnessed acute interventions, variety of ideas as the majority of participants considered the current reform process is precipitant, and that the committee in charge of this reform is made of one intellectual and ideological tendencies as many organisations were excluded. In addition, others stated that this reform was shallow and did not address the deep problems of the education. Other participant suggested some recommendations namely:

  • Adopting chess game as a subject to be taught in schools and that contributes in strengthening the cognitive ability of the children.
  • Strengthening the spirit of citizenship for the children
  • Implementing a firm strategy and methodology of reform
  • Implementing a legal framework that guarantee transparency and quality in recruitments and training and assessment with equal opportunities.

The participant called also for an assessment in the final report of the reform.

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