TUNISIA: Extra language and ICT courses for graduates

New study programmes aiming to offer graduates complementary qualifications in languages and computer studies have attracted 11,000 young people, reported La Presse of Tunis.

The courses have been introduced by the Ministry of Professional Education and Employment, targeting higher education graduates in all disciplines. They are in line with President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's pronouncement on the importance of qualifications in languages and ICT for applicants looking for employment opportunities abroad.

The programme started in October in institutions under the supervision of the Ministry of Communication Technologies and of the Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research, and in centres of vocational training, said La Presse.

The number of students enrolled in the programme throughout the country totalled more than 11,000, of whom 6,200 were studying English, 2,060 French, 400 other languages and 2,600 computer studies.

They are taught by accredited lecturers and experts, and those who succeed will qualify for an international-standard diploma which will "spread the reputation of Tunisian skills and the country's abilities to attract foreign investment", said La Presse.

The aim of the programme is to improve the employability of young people so they can benefit from national and international job offers as outlined in the national plan for employment abroad.

Competence in languages, especially French and English, an academic degree and professional experience were the most important conditions required by major companies based in Tunisia, as well as the foundations for access to the most promising international markets in the employment sector, said La Presse.

It said the Ministry of Professional Training and Employment had introduced a complementary language course for young people interested in working abroad.

The progamme's longer term target is to train 20,000 graduates, 15,000 of them in languages and 5,000 in ICT, said La Presse. The ministry has sent text messages to 61,000 graduates to inform them about the programme and encourage them to sign up.