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Aligning Incentives for Reforming Higher Education in Tunisa


  • Mongi Boughzala

    () (University of Tunis El Manar, FSEGT)

  • Samir Ghazouani


  • Abdelwahab Ben Hafaiedh


This paper is about the institutional and regulatory system governing higher education in Tunisia; its focus is on autonomy and accountability and it also compares the performance of public higher education graduates to the private sector’s. The main idea guiding this paper is that better educational outcomes depend, among other things, on the institutional arrangements and the incentives structure they generate. The paper analyzes the current incentive system underlying the functioning of the university system in Tunisia. In spite of the reforms attempted to improve the quality of the education system this system remains very disconnected from the demand side of the labor market. Management and academic staff have little incentive to adapt their training and research programs to the market needs. This is to a large extent because they enjoy little autonomy and are hardly accountable. The paper also relies on data drawn from the recent Tunisia Higher Education Graduates’ Survey (THEGS 2015) initiated by ERF which builds on similar studies previously undertaken by ERF in Egypt and Jordan. This data is used to compare the outcome of the public universities with the private institutions with a focus on the employment performance of their graduates. Private universities behave differently, and some try to innovate in terms of pedagogy and to be closer to the potential employers’ demands. However, they remain small and attract less than 8 percent of the total student body. They are all profit driven and tend to have few if any permanent academic staff; instead, they rely mostly on temporary teachers. Nevertheless, based on the THEGS 2015 data, they manage to perform quite well compared to their public counterparts.

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  • Mongi Boughzala & Samir Ghazouani & Abdelwahab Ben Hafaiedh, 2016. "Aligning Incentives for Reforming Higher Education in Tunisa," Working Papers 1031, Economic Research Forum, revised Jul 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:1031

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ghada Barsoum & Nader Mryyan, 2014. "Incentives Structure and Accountability in the Jordanian Higher Education System," Working Papers 835, Economic Research Forum, revised Jun 2014.
    2. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Imed Limam & Abdelwahab Ben Hafaiedh, 2017. "Education, Earnings and Returns to Schooling in Tunisia," Working Papers 1162, Economic Research Forum, revised 12 Jun 2017.
    2. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft, 2016. "Comparative Analysis of Higher Education Processes in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia: An Examination of Pedagogy, Accountability and Perceptions of Quality," Working Papers 1069, Economic Research Forum, revised 12 Jun 2016.

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