UNESCO attends Tunisia’s first national conference on educational reform
A national conference on the “Methodology for the Reform of the Education System” was organized by the Ministry of Education in Tunis, from 29–31 March 2012.
This was the first step in a much-needed national consultation process to draw a road map for educational reform. Students, teachers, teacher unions, educators, researchers, representatives of political parties and civil society participated.
Representatives of a number of countries and multinational businesses, as well as of major UN organizations, including UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and UNESCO’s Rabat Office, shared experience of educational reform and development.
IIEP Director Khalil Mahshi spoke about the lessons IIEP has learned from its engagement in many countries which have implemented successful educational reconstruction and reform. Chief among these lessons were: the need for political will and engagement at the highest level of policy- and decision-makers, regular consultation with and participation of stakeholders in policy setting and planning, and joint responsibility and accountability of all partners for the reform implementation.
Mr Mahshi also outlined current challenges in development and education. He concluded by charting some of the priorities that might figure on the post-2015 international agenda for educational development. These included: improvement of learning outcomes, engaging youth in planning education for social transformation and sustainable development, gender balance in leadership positions, overcoming corruption, achieving good governance in education, conflict mitigation and disaster risk reduction through education.
Discussions between Tunisian stakeholders were intense, at times even heated. The vivid interest of all participants in developing post-revolution Tunisia, and in reforming its education system to respond to aspirations for societal development could not have been clearer.
The Conference concluded with recommendations for the roadmap and the preferred methodology for educational reform, as well as concrete steps for the near future. The most important of these concerned putting in place legislation and mechanisms for wide national participation in educational reform, starting with in-depth diagnosis and evaluation of the education system. Specialized teams of educators, researchers, evaluators, and planners will be entrusted with follow-up.