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Tunisian Education Ministry enters new partnership to embed debate in the curriculum

Thu, 24/03/2016 - 14:17 -- Haitham Samy

Tunis, 24 March 2016 - “Young Arab Voices” programme ambassadors from Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia had the opportunity to meet with the Tunisian Minister of Education to exchange ideas on proposals to embed debate in the national curricula. The meeting took place on the eve of the landmark “Debate to Action” Regional Forum in Tunis. The forum has been a platform for presenting new research on the importance of institutionalising the teaching of transferable skills such as debating, critical thinking and media literacy in formal education systems.

At the dinner debate with the Ministry of Education, the Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation Ambassador Hatem Atallah underlined that this partnership is a good opportunity in the face of the current challenges in the region: “The debate programme among youth is crucial in the face of radicalisation and extremism. It's very important to implement the idea of acceptance of the other and debate within youth.” Nigel Bellingham, Director of the British Council in Tunis, announced at a press conference during the #Debate2Action Regional Youth Forum: “Our aim is to have a debate club in every single school in Tunisia”.

New research highlighting the importance of institutionalising the teaching of transferable skills in formal education systems was presented during the Regional Youth Forum in Tunisia. This research, carried out during the last six months across eight Arab countries, highlights that there is a growing interest among young debaters to see debate programmes embedded in formal educational structures in order to reach a broad spectrum of their peers across the region, as the lack of these skills are often cited as a major obstacle to meaningful political participation. Programmes such as Young Arab Voices, run by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the British Council, provide training in transferrable skills and create a culture of dialogue, which facilitates better understanding and allows space for the inclusion of a range of voices in any debate.

The research report carried out in the last six months across eight Arab countries will be released soon.