Educational governance activities and the rise of educational contagion in the Islamic Maghreb. The case of Tunisia.

Tavis D Jules, Teresa Barton


Tunisia’s recent movement from dictatorship to democracy presents a unique
opportunity to understand educational developments in post-revolutionary
settings. Within Tunisia, the study of the post-revolutionary scenery is
integral because it is likely that education now has to deal with the
baggage and verbiage of education for democracy as it attempts to partake
in the global souk in a post-Ben Ali era. Using Tunisia as a case study,
this research examines educational developments within transitory
democratic spaces to advance the research hypothesis that revolutions act
as an ‘educational contagion' as new ideas are imported and old ones
realigned to seek national competency and international legitimacy. In
this context, the study explores how the current post-revolutionary
reforms are engendered, as in the case of Tunisia’s recent movement from
revolution to elections, and engages in the themes and purposes of
educational transformations. Theoretically, this study draws upon two
strands of research in comparative and international education that strive
to understand why states import new educational reforms and who is
responsible for these reforms. A qualitative methodological scaffolding of
latent and manifest content analyses is utilized to examine Tunisia’s
education policies in the pre-and post-revolutionary period―revealing the
“actors” and “institutions” that facilitated, giddied, and undergirded new
reform initiatives. It explores the confluence of ‘when’ and ‘why’
educational reform is imported and exported and address who benefits from
such reforms. The findings show that the post-revolutionary education
reforms have taken on a whole new role and have given Tunisia the
potential to become an exemplar for all countries faced with the
challenges stemming from economic globalization.

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DOI: 10.4119/UNIBI/indi-v5-i2-121