chapter  16
11 Pages

The Republic of Tunisia

ByJ.S. Birks, C.A. Sinclair

Tunisia, the smallest of the three Maghreb countries both by area and population, became an independent republic in 1956 under President Bourgiba. The national literacy rate was 55 per cent in 1972, a high figure for the Arab region. Universal education has been one of the highest priorities of the Tunisian government since independence, educational facilities having been expanded as rapidly as possible. The Tunisian government has little scope for manoeuvre; it is possible to effect a radical change in educational policy that could change the characteristics of labour market entrants and their aspirations. Tunisia’s largest employer of labour is the agriculture and fishing sector, which is relatively more important for women than men. The collapsing demand for Tunisians in Europe had less significance for the domestic labour market than might have been the case but for the almost simultaneous growth of labour demand in Libya.