Academic grading in Tunisia

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The Tunisian grading system is mostly a 20-point grading scale: it is used in secondary schools and universities. For primary schools, a new system has been introduced, based on a letter-grade scale; the old system uses a 10-point grading scale for the first term and a 20-point scale for the second and third terms.

Currently, most Tunisian universities use a traditional 20-point grading scale, but after the introduction of the new National Higher Education Reform, a new grading scale, similar to that of the ECTS grading scale, is becoming more and more common.

Most of the time, the formal grades used in Tunisia are not considered in graduate programs acceptance. A grade of 12 (which is actually a passable grade in Tunisia but equivalent to 60% in the US where it is considered a below average) is generally a good starting grade to apply for graduate studies and financial aids or scholarships. This is due to a severe testing and evaluation system employed in most Tunisian universities. Generally, at the national level, a grade of 12 or above is considered a good grade. This is why some European universities use a different admission requirement for Tunisian students. Tunisia's neighboring countries, Algeria & Morocco, have a very similar grading system.

Grading is Tunisia is done on a scale of 1-20. Convert it to % marks by multiplying the actual grade by 5. A grade of 14 or above (out of 20) is OK. In Tunisia (like France, New France / Quebec as well as former French colonies), people regularly receive two or three PhD degrees from two or even three different universities. They seem to have a funky rule: if one of your thesis examiners (may be just the external examiner) is from another university then you also get a PhD degree from that school, too. In one reported case, a colleague who never ever visited Canada but has had a PhD degree from U of Montreal (along with a degree from a quite unknown school in Tunisia) just because one of his thesis examining committee members was an adjunct professor in U of Montreal. He was hired on a contract faculty position (based on his CV) as a graduate from U of Montreal but received (based on his actual education) someone who was not considered eligible for a job even in Tunisia.