Nature Middle East | House of Wisdom

Academia in Tunisia gaining rights

Carthage University.jpg

The ousted Tunisian ex-president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had a firm hold on the academic community in Tunisia for more than two decades. Now that he is out of the picture after four months of national protests sparked by unemployed university graduates, the professors are trying to right all the wrongs done.

Every action by the scientific community required permissions, ranging from meeting foreign researchers to holding a science conference. Universities were required to submit regular reports of all the ongoings within their walls. Now, Tunisian professors are rejoicing at their new-found freedoms to conduct research freely and to work with the international community.

To reflect this, the ministry of higher education and scientific research has passed a set of new decisions a couple of days ago to truly separate the government from the academia, allowing them to practice their complete rights.

The most interesting of these new decisions are:

1) The removal of all security forces and personnel from within universities and other educational institutes.

2) Immediate lifting of all sanctions that were imposed on students for their political opinions or union activity and allowing them to resume their studies normally.

3) Removing any namings or positions that reflect ousted Ben Ali, such as the Ben Ali Chair for Dialogue Across Religions and Cultures, or renaming the 7th of November Carthage University to Carthage university (7 November is the anniversary of Ben Ali’s ascension to the presidency)

4) Implementing democratic voting in all universities on all levels. (Ben Ali used to assign these positions before to keep a firm hand on all goings on in the universities).

5) A student will be named as an advisor to the minister of higher education and scientific research on all issues concerning young people in universities so the ministry can better answer their needs.

Tunisia seems to be on the right track for proper reform in the educational sector. If it carries on like that then they may truly reach their potential which was being held back for many years.

Respect to the Tunisians!


  1. Report this comment

    Sam Berkun said:

    It’s amazing to see what a communists approach to society has done once his power taken away from him.

    The Tunisian educational system, now democratic, should hopefully show the world that shared ideas and opinions will only help for the greater good.

    Congrats to the Tunisians!