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, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 135-155

First online:

Scope, relevance and challenges of financing higher education: The case of Tunisia

  • Tahar AbdessalemAffiliated withEcole Polytechnique de Tunisie, Carthage University Email author 

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Like other developing countries, Tunisia has allocated increasing levels of resources to education, particularly higher education, over the past few decades, mainly through public funding. From 2005 to 2008, public expenditure on education amounted to around 7.4% of GDP, with 2% allocated to higher education. Recently, however, budgetary constraints have increased, student enrollment is increasing rapidly, and the country needs to improve its higher education so that graduates are more employable. In this context, to enhance access and equity, public policy is required to define orientations and programmes to improve quality and efficiency while reducing costs. This article first assesses public expenditure on higher education in Tunisia, with respect to its adequacy, efficiency, and equity, and then explores the challenges posed to financing by demographic changes, the need for higher quality of education, and private provision. It also examines some strategies for reinforcing financing, and analyzes measures to increase private funding.


Higher education finance Adequacy Efficiency Equity Quality Financing strategies Tunisia