Tunisian private universities eye West African market

With 82,000 young Ivorians passing the school-leaving baccalauréat examination, giving them the right to higher education, but only 30,000 places available in the country’s universities, private Tunisian universities are hoping to attract them – and to extend their offerings to other countries in the region.

With schooling in Côte d’Ivoire recently made compulsory until the age of 16, nearly 5,000 Tunisian schoolteachers could find posts in Ivorian schools, according to La Presse de Tunisie.

The paper reported that this prospect was leading Tunisian Education Minister Neji Jalloul to head a delegation of 13 private universities to take part in Campus Tunisie, a promotional fair, in Abidjan, capital of Côte d’Ivoire, a country regarded as a platform for the whole West African region.

“About 82,000 pupils passed their baccalauréat… while the Ivorian universities, public and private, can only cater for 30,000 new students,” Riadh Azaiez, the organiser of Campus Tunisie, told La Presse.

This, said the paper, showed the extent of the market in Côte d’Ivoire, which could prove to be a “godsend” for Tunisian universities.

Azaiez calculated that between a fifth and a quarter of the qualified Ivorian school-leavers could be recruited by Tunisian universities, and if so he believed tripling the number of Ivorians studying in Tunisia would prove to be an achievable aim.

He said it was about choosing to participate in one of the most dynamic economic zones in the world, with a growth rate of nearly 9% in Côte d’Ivoire, reported La Presse – and along the same lines the Ivorian market would open wide the doors to other markets in the region such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad.

To do this, Azaiez was in favour of organising thematic events attended by [Tunisian] companies and supported by senior managers from public authorities.

After organising fairs on the themes of ICTs, construction and health, Azaiez said it was now the turn of universities to work together to constitute a strong presence to carve out a place for themselves in the Ivorian market.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.