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Tunisia: Vocational training facing the challenge of quality

To December 2010, the total number of trainees reached 110,557 compared with 104,047 during the year 2008-2009 spread over some 135 training centers operating in conjunction with a network of companies with multiple economic needs.

The number of alternative trainees reached 61,994, posting a significant increase compared to the year 2008-2009, i.e. 57,473 trainees. The number of graduates has improved, in turn, increasing from 36,735 in 2008-2009 to 37,527 in 2009-2010

Most requested priority sectors are electronics (25,944 trainees), textiles (20,456 trainees), welding and steel construction (14,053 trainees), maintenance of public and agricultural facilities (11,936), tourism and hotel industry (7,058 ), the service sector and various industries in which number of trainees reached 5,578.

However, though important it is, this development can not ignore the immensity of what remains to be done in terms of restructuring the vocational training system which suffers from certain shortcomings related to the very partial integration of the vocational training system in the general system of training. Specifically, it seems unable to anticipate promising businesses, even worse, when some businesses are no longer requested on the job market.

Some gaps remain especially with the increase in the number of unemployed. Tunisia currently has between 700,000 and 750,000 unemployed, an overall unemployment rate of 20%. This rate reaches 30% among university graduates. These figures continue to double, particularly with difficulties and problems that have accompanied the transition period and significantly affected the vocational training field.

Recognizing this, the reform of vocational training remains strategic and can not wait for political events. The government should act quickly by making this system an advanced mechanism to meet the needs of the national economy. The point is to further promote an environment to help bridge the gap between training and market needs.

This is a step that requires a review of the strategic repositioning of the Tunisian Vocational Training Agency (ATFP), but also a decentralization of offer and demand.

Action involves understanding the increasingly urgent needs of each region. It will be easier to find a balance at the regional level for the whole country in this very critical situation experienced by new Tunisia.

The point is to give more power to regions on their training offer, as a central issue that must be integrated into the new constitution with a strong commitment to decentralization that has been lacking so far and that should really be the at the heart of reforms in Tunisia.

In this context, the ATFP should find solutions by initiating first a reform program. This is why the ATFP is preparing this year a “big” budget of 150 MTD to maximize this aspect.

September session: 37,000 new training positions.

On another level, 37,000 training positions are available from the next school year due, in September 2011: 14,500 for the degree of professional competence, 10,000 for the degree of professional competence and 8,200 for the degree of competence. 2,700 positions will also be available for higher technical diploma, 900 for the diploma of end of apprenticeship and 700 for vocational diploma.

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