Editor’s note: This article is part of a package based on research by Al-Fanar Media into job benefits and protections for professors at universities in the Arab world. For an overview of the findings, see “Lacking Job Security and Benefits, Many Arab Professors Lose Interest in Academia.”
Academics in Tunisia are increasingly organizing sit-ins and other forms of protest against private universities, which they accuse of giving them dodgy contracts and dismissing them after a few months. They say the universities refuse to disclose the reasons for their dismissals, but they suspect that the contracts are designed to meet the licensing conditions stipulated by the law.
Salma El Saadi, who recently lost her job teaching Communication and Information Sciences, had gone without work for four years after obtaining her Ph.D. until she was hired by a private university. “I was appointed, but I did not receive a copy of the contract, because the university claimed it needed to complete some procedures. Later, I was terminated without a prior warning,” she said.
Tunisian law requires educational institutions to hire teachers in proportion to the number of students, and to submit a list of permanent and temporary appointments to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research as a condition for obtaining a license that enables them to award certificates to students.