TUNISIA: Focus on employability in university guide

The focus is on rationalising higher education courses and on qualifications to respond to the needs of the labour market in the 2010 guide to university courses published by Tunisia's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, reported the Agence Tunis Afrique Presse of Tunis.

The annual guide's new format classifies the courses on offer by discipline, specialisation and institution, said TAP.

A major change, it said, was the amalgamation of some bachelors level courses into a common syllabus during a term or semester. "Thus, out of 720 university courses that existed before, the new guide has retained only 580 after removing specialisations that were similar to others," said the agency. "Nevertheless, certain disciplines have been consolidated by transferring the specialisation to the end of the university programme."

This was a new trend that would allow a university to revise its programmes and capacities to provide certain specialisations during the middle of a course of studies, depending on their positioning in the labour market, said TAP.

The guide also reflects the policy laid down by President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to raise the quality of university education through rehabilitation of the humanities, with emphasis on language teaching, said TAP.

This process upgrades bachelors level degrees in sociology and psychology as well as German, Italian and Spanish, and introduces two preparatory courses in languages (Arabic, French and English) and social sciences (philosophy, history and geography), reported TAP.

For the first time the guide gives details about every university programme on offer and a preliminary idea on associated employment opportunities, said the agency.

Tunisia is also going to set up a national centre on university studies, with regional offices, to advise students on the different courses available and their professional prospects, reported TAP.