In Tunisia, web schools to counter unemployment

Boubacar Diallo

Among the most connected countries on the African continent, Tunisia is witnessing a proliferation of digital skills training. According to these schools, the sector is one of the levers to exploit to curb youth unemployment.

Tunisia is one of the most connected countries on the African continent. It ranks fifth among the best-equipped African countries in terms of infrastructure according to the World Economic Forum’s Network readiness index (NRI). Its digital sector represents 7.2% of its GDP, as much as tourism and agriculture. And the country attracts many companies wishing to relocate their technical platforms.

A common pedagogy
In this context, the need for technical profiles is increasing and schools dedicated to the digital professions are mushrooming. This is the case of the 3W Academy, the latest to have opened in Tunis, end of December 2017. Created in 2012 in France by Djamchid Dalili, the school offers the same type of training as its Tunisian competitors WeCode Land and GoMyCode. On the menu, seven hours of classes per day, from Monday to Friday for three months, promotions of fifteen people gathered in a room equipped accordingly, days punctuated by practical work during which the theoretical concepts are addressed as and when everyone’s questions. Everything is supervised by a team of developers trained to guide students so that they know how to find the answers by themselves, on the web.

One goal: employment
In addition to applying the same teaching method, the three schools share the same ambition, that of training talent for jobs that recruit. “A lot of schools and universities are preparing for jobs that no longer exist,” says Wala Kasmi. An opinion shared by the founder of 3W Academy. According to him, the vast majority of computer engineers graduate from their school without ever having written a single line of code.

Djmachid Dalili and his counterparts are convinced that digital is one of the answers to unemployment that primarily affects youth. And there is urgency, because according to government figures, 32% of young Tunisian graduates of higher education are unemployed. This is even more for the World Bank, which estimates this rate at more than 40%.

Various prices
But does this unemployed youth really have the means to afford these training courses? At 3W Academy, you have to pay 3,600 dinars (1,212 euros) for the 3 months of course. An exorbitant price in a country where the minimum monthly wage is about 357 dinars. But its founder is reassuring: “We are working to offer our courses at more affordable prices.”

At 600 dinars (201 euros), GoMyCode is more accessible. And his 21-year-old founder, Yahya Bouhlel, offers access to scholarships. For its part, WeCode Land, works with sponsorships of companies that finance the 700 euros of training. Others apply to microcredit organizations that are partners of the school to obtain a student loan. Wala Kasmi assures, the majority of those repay their loan faster than expected.

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