Trust and Institutional Corruption: The Case of Education in Tunisia

45 Pages Posted: 21 May 2014

See all articles by Mihaylo Milovanovitch

Mihaylo Milovanovitch

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Date Written: May 22, 2014


Tunisia, the focus of this paper and a country of new beginnings since the overthrow of the Ben Ali regime in 2011, was quick to identify public sector corruption as a major impediment to progress. Education, traditionally treated as one of the most important and highest stake sectors in the public domain in Tunisia, appears to be particularly affected. The integrity scan of Tunisian education presented in the Working Paper applies a proprietary methodology to identify shortcomings in areas of key importance for effective institutional operation and stakeholder trust, such as staff and resource management, quality of education, and access to education. It then provides evidence that can guide the closure of integrity gaps. The results of the scan suggest that public schools are experiencing difficulties in providing quality education in an effective way, which in turn nurtures distrust in the schools’ ability to fulfil their mission and fuels need for and widespread acceptance of private tutoring. Low accountability of schools and teachers and problems with student assessment allow for low effectiveness of learning during regular classes, facilitate these practices, and prevent the authorities from establishing the extent to which they represent a threat of corruption. Integrity challenges are confronting the tertiary sector as well. The paper lists options for follow up to restore trust in the system, and suggests a wide public discussion on steps to be undertaken with the goal of making a pact among all concerned for a strong and fair Tunisian education system.

Keywords: Corruption, Institutional Corruption, Education, Integrity, Prevention, OECS, INTES, Tunisia, Higher Education, Private Tutoring, PISA, Middle East, North Africa

Suggested Citation

Milovanovitch, Mihaylo, Trust and Institutional Corruption: The Case of Education in Tunisia (May 22, 2014). Edmond J. Safra Working Papers, No. 44, Available at SSRN: or

Mihaylo Milovanovitch (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )

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