It’s time for the new school year to come and all parents in Tunisia are currently multiplying with acrobatics to pay for what their dear toddlers need. It must be said that in Tunisia families sometimes attach excessive importance to school and their children’s education. It’s up to who wants to choose the best school, have the right stamp and draw their checkbook as quickly as possible to try to insure the children’s future.
But all this, as every parent knows, is far from free. Firstly, everyone agrees that the Tunisian state should not be counted on to make the slightest effort in this aspect. It seems that the state is still happy that there are schools all over Tunisia, even though most of them were built right after independence. The Tunisian parent is left to fend for himself in the face of rapacious private schools and a dilapidated supplement to public education. He also finds himself alone in front of the exorbitant price of school supplies and in front of the lists, sometimes fanciful, given by certain institutions. The Tunisian parent, when he has to enroll his offspring in a kindergarten, must fight fiercely against the certainty of being picked and master his nerves in order not to lose this so dearly acquired place. When you get a list that includes 24 rolls of toilet paper, twelve rolls of paper towels and three liters of liquid soap, it’s perfectly normal for your ears to bleed. In addition, this same parent must submit the statement of the President of the National Trade Union Chamber of Nurseries and Kindergartens, who, without batting an eyelid, maintains that a price of 500 dinars per month for a nursery that provides all the services is completely normal.
On the other hand, the official bodies claim that all the products are available at affordable prices including the subsidized notebook. But unfortunately, the Tunisian still does not know where these products are so available and so available. They still don’t know where the famous market was filmed by Wataniya 1 where the prices are unreal. The reality for the Tunisian parent is quite different from what the officials say, and they are forced to spend considerable sums to buy the famous supplies. Everyone considers it normal for a child to walk around with 500 dinars on his back every day to go to school. Every year, Tunisian parents have to bend over backwards to find the money needed for registration, supplies, clubs, the canteen and other minor expenses. Some even go so far as to take out loans to secure what they believe is the best possible education for their children.
That same parent is also asked to be understanding when their child’s gym membership doubles over the summer break. He is also asked to understand that private nurseries, kindergartens and schools are suffering from inflation and price increases and that he therefore has to pay more money. But everyone forgets that this parent is also the taxpayer who pays taxes for driving on potholed roads, for not finding a respectable primary school for his child, and who has long since forgotten the very existence of public transport. . It is also the same citizen who finds neither sugar, nor oil, butter, juice, soda or mineral water on the shop shelves. After successive twists and turns in the gigantic twist that has become daily life in Tunisia, we ask this same citizen-parent-taxpayer to have faith in its leaders and in the future… and of course continue to pay this as he is asked to pay.
Today we face a painful reality: more and more people are trying the adventure of migration, whether legal or illegal, with the sole aim of securing a better future for their children and having the opportunity to raise them in a clean place, where the law is respected and where there are parks and spaces for children that can be used without losing a hundred dinars. Several Tunisian families migrate solely for this purpose. This is a despair and a pain no less acute than being unemployed or feeling that you have no future in your own country.
It is not at all easy to be a parent today in Tunisia, regardless of the social level or where you are in the territory. In addition to financial pressure, parents have to deal with the judgment of others and their gaze. They have to deal with the buried guilt that tells them they are not doing enough for the children and spending enough time with them. Ultimately, parents face this pressure alone. Courage to them.