University of Carthage

Lassaad El Asmi


This article presents the University of Carthage as an important component of Tunisian public higher education and  research system. It presents the historical and geographical situation of this large university complex, as well as the deployment of the different sites that make up the university. The strengths are presented through the activities of its various components, as well as the major problems that prevent its good visibility. The last paragraph presents the perspectives, the short-term strategy and the solutions developed.

Keywords: university, campus, training.


Tunisia enjoys an education system that has focused on free and high-quality education. Despite all the difficulties and upheavals that humanity is going through, despite the rapid changes and the global economic crisis, it continues to invest in the knowledge economy and the development of skilled human resources. Thus, it has a public system of higher education and research which is endowed with several multidisciplinary university centers, rich in specialization and diversification.

This journal proposes to present in each issue a facet of this system of higher education. We will present as well a university, a school, a faculty, a research center, Tunisian achievements in terms of sciences and research. We will shed light on aspects of this system that are not known to the general public, in order to help link this spider’s web of a teaching and research system, which tends to be folded into itself, with its social and economic environment. This first issue is devoted to the University of Carthage, which is the source and inspiration of the FOCCUS Foundation and the Journal FOCCUS, Culture and Science.


The University of Carthage, which is a central hub of the higher education and research system, is a multidisciplinary university with strong technological and agricultural components. Although the current form of the University is relatively new, its history begins in 1898 with the creation of one of its oldest components, which is also one of the first institutions of higher education and research created at the University. colonial era, namely the National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia. At that time, research related to the genetics of cereals had already begun, in premises, which gave birth in 1913 to the National Institute of Agronomic Research of Tunisia (INRAT). This Institute is the second stone of what will later become the University of Carthage. The creation of INRAT was directly followed, in 1914, by the creation of the Mograne Agronomic School (ESAMo), a third stone of the building.

These three old institutions constitute the historical core of the higher education and scientific research system of the University of Carthage. The first national institution in the field of management is the Institute of Higher Commercial Studies, created in 1942, and which is another main component of the University. It was only after independence that the Ministry of Higher Education began to organize itself with the creation of the University of Tunis in 1960 and the flowering of a multitude of institutions some of which will constitute later the university that is presented here.

Positioning :

The University’s headquarters and several of its institutions are located on the heights of Byrsa Kart-Hadasht millennial site that has passed through several civilizations that have succeeded in Tunisian soil. Fleuron of knowledge, Carthage is the city history, where were born the agronomist Magon, the philosopher Hasdrubal, the explorers Hannon and Himilcon. Hannibal himself, warlord, military strategist and statesman was a bilingual writer who not only made history not his military genius, but also by his writings in Greek and Phoenician versant in the sciences. Carthage had its scientists and libraries, “the literature of the Carthaginians bore the borrowing of their entire mind directed to practical knowledge,” said Philippe Berger in his book “Phenicia.” Beyond Carthage, the University extends, in Niapolis, current Nabeul, Utica Hippo Dyarrhytus, Bizerte and goes even to Thuburbo Majus the Roman and Zaghouan the Andalusian.

It is rooted in knowledge and continues to provide and teach it to thousands of students from all over the country and beyond, from all classes and social classes, in search of knowledge and knowledge and seeking to acquire the skills necessary for integration into working life.

The University of Carthage is a route of knowledge, knowledge and training of high scientific quality provided in a set of structures composed of engineering schools, institutes of advanced scientific, social and human studies and major faculties. Near and far it covers all the north east of Tunisia namely the governorates of Bizerte, a large part of the great Tunis, Nabeul and Zaghouan.

Its network whose center is Carthage spreads in the form of a half-canvas, like a spiderweb, with a radius of sixty kilometers linking the said governorates to accommodate students from all sides.

Moving in the specific environment of each governorate, the University of Carthage forms a network consisting of thirty five institutions deployed on five sites of this vast region of the North-East of the country, according to the natural, economic and environmental resources of each region, thus meeting the demands of both the region and the country in the fields of human development, cultural action and the improvement of urban structures leading to the enhancement of the social fabric.

This network, located in the North-East of the country and bordering on the Mediterranean, is part of the Tunisian university system of public higher education. Through its various components, the university awards more than three hundred degrees in the various training cycles and disciplines, namely the preparatory courses for engineering studies and the Agrégation, the Fundamental Licenses, the Applied Licenses, the Research Masters, Professional Masters, National Diplomas of Engineers, National Audiovisual Diplomas and Doctorates.

Opened internationally, the University of Carthage is integrated in several international university networks and is active in several international programs of research, scientific cooperation and support for quality training.

Lastly, the University plays a social role in its involvement in various national and international university competitions, and various activities such as conferences, forums and debates involving socio-economic partners. These competitions and activities often focus on the theme of entrepreneurship, but also on other current topics such as robotics or New Technologies or themes that address political and social issues.

Deployment of sites:

The center of this university network which constitutes the University of Carthage is located in Carthage-Amilcar. It brings together the most prestigious institutions of the country. The high-level engineering cluster, namely the Preparatory Institute for Scientific and Technical Studies (IPEST) and the Polytechnic School of Tunisia (EPT), two flagships of the Tunisian higher education system. The first recruits the very best of those admitted to the Baccalaureate to prepare them for the national competitions and the French entrance exams for engineering schools. Each year, several of them are admitted, after the two years spent in this institute, in the best French schools, the X, Mines, bridges, power plants, etc. The second is the so-called pilot school of engineering schools of Tunisia. She recruits among the first 50 admitted to the national competition of recruitment to the schools of Engineers. It is a high level teaching and research center and works in partnership with the most prestigious Schools in the world. Thus students of this school can prepare a double degree, that of their institution and that of another renowned European school, the Mines of Paris, Telecom Paris, Central, etc … The internationalization of this national jewel goes well. In the vicinity of these two flagship institutions, is the National School of Architecture and Urbanism (ENAU), which is the only site of the Tunisian public university, which offers this much sought after training for the needs of the city ​​and municipalities, for the beauty of archaeological sites and our environment. A little further in this beautiful region, stands the site of the Institute of Higher Commercial Studies (IHEC), which trains senior executives and managers of the country. These institutions of excellence are complemented by a film school (ESAC), housed in Gammarth, which is also a versatile training space of excellence, both theoretical, practical, technical and artistic, serving the professionals of the Audiovisual and Cinema, an Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (IHET) overlooking the heights of Sidi Dhrif and an institute of child executives (ISCE), located in Carthage Dermech. Each of these institutions is the only public university institution in the country, which fulfills the important mission it is responsible for.

At the foot of the Ariana hills, is the prestigious Faculty of Juridical, Political and Social Sciences (FSJPST), a center of excellence in legal, political and social studies and research. It radiates nationally and internationally through its skills and products. A little further, in the Technopole of El Ghazala, there is the superb Telecom School (Sup’Com), school of Engineers of Excellence in the field of ICT. This is another jewel of skills that helps to internationalize our education system. In the region of Soukra, is the Higher Institute of Preparatory Studies in Biology and Geology (ISEPBG), which is the only institution of higher agricultural education providing training in the preparatory cycle.

In the same region, there is the Charguia campus, a group of components that offer quality training and that position themselves in a remarkable way nationally and internationally despite the difficult conditions they are in. The establishments were, in fact, housed in premises rented in a hurry to meet the rising curve of massification. Temporarily created on rental sites, these establishments stayed there a little too long, waiting for the final solution, which is slow in coming. Although the site does not meet the standards of a university campus, the Charguia institutions have for several years been carrying out a very important task in the development of qualified human resources. The current campus of Charguia is made up of four institutions. These are two young engineering schools namely the School of Statistics and Analysis of Information (ESSAI) and the National School of Engineers of Carthage (ENICar). They are complemented by the Higher Institute of Environmental Technologies for Urban Planning and Building (ISTEUB) and the National Institute of Labor and Social Studies (INTES). A project to build premises on the Carthage Campus is underway. A preliminary feasibility study conducted by the university and ministry building departments with the assistance of teachers and students from the School of Architecture, the Municipality of Sidi Bou Said and the INP, has was conclusive despite all the resistance found on the part of occult and diffuse forces. The project is presented in perspective in this article.

The Tunis Campus is made up of the National Institute of Applied and Technical Sciences (INSAT), another flagship of our higher education and research system, a high-level engineering school constituting the alternative model for schools recruiting from of the preparatory cycle. This campus is also made up of engineering schools and research institutes of excellence in the agricultural field namely the National Agronomic Institute of Tunis, pole of excellence in agronomic studies (INAT), the National Institute of Research in Rural Engineering, Waters, Forests (INRGREF) and the National Institute of Agronomic Research of Tunis (INRAT). Finally, still in the same campus are the Higher Institute of Languages ​​of Tunis (ISLT), center of excellence for linguistic cultures and the School of Food Industries of Tunis (ESIAT) which trains engineers, senior technicians , and who delivers masters and doctorates in Food Industries.

The Bizerte region is home to a major university campus with seven scientific and agricultural institutions. An important teaching and research center with the largest mass of research structures and a high potential of high level supervisors is located at the Faculty of Sciences of Bizerte (FSB). Beside this pole are two institutions offering a formation of Engineers, a preparatory institute (IPEIB) to prepare students for the competitions and a school of engineers (ENIB) among the latest born in Tunisia, built in the framework of the cooperation with France and works in complete symbiosis with French schools. Each year, several of the most deserving students are selected to obtain a double degree with ENSAM. In the same campus is the Higher Institute of Commerce and Accounting (ISCCB), is a young institution that offers two Applied licenses, one in marketing and the other in accounting in addition to a fundamental license in finance. Finally in this region of Bizerte is the Higher Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (ISPAB), which issues licenses applied “Fisheries and Aquaculture Technologies”. In Mateur, there are two institutions, the Higher Institute of Applied Sciences (ISSAT), which provides training in the field of new technologies in the LMD system and the School of Advanced Agriculture (ESAMa), which prepares national engineering diploma in the animal and forage production specialty and the applied degree in animal and forage production.

In the region of Nabeul, the university is represented by seven institutions, four of which are devoted to technical training and engineering, two to the humanities and arts and a faculty of economics. These institutions are spread over three campuses. The oldest is the Mrezgua, which hosts alongside the ISET Nabeul, the preparatory institute for engineering studies Nabeul (IPEIN). This institute, which was the pilot institution for preparatory institutes, now plays an important role in the preparation of engineering competitions, but it is also part of a broader mission with the research structures that have been developed by the universities. multidisciplinary skills that drive this institution. The second campus is located between the Mrezgua and Nabeul, it brings together the Faculty of Economics and Management (FSEGN), which trains versatile managers and experts able to meet the needs of the economic environment composed mainly of SMEs, the Higher Institute of Fine Arts (ISBAN), which prepares for Licenses in Visual Art and Design and Masters. The campus will also host the Higher Institute of Languages ​​(ISLN) currently housed in rental premises in Nabeul. The Higher Institute of Languages ​​Nabeul is a young institution that provides foreign language courses for obtaining basic and applied degrees, professional masters in French and English for tourism and heritage management.

In Borj Cedria, was born the last campus of the University within the framework of the cooperation with Japan. It brings together three institutions that constitute the university space of Borj Cedria’s Technopole. These three institutions are the Higher Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technologies (ISSTE) which is an institution specializing in environment in the broad sense of the term and in particular in renewable energies, water, the engineering of life and middle. The National School of Applied Sciences Borj Cedria (ENSTAB), which trains versatile engineers, with strong multidisciplinary skills around the engineering of energy and industrial systems, and the Institute of Information Technologies and Communication (ISTIC). The latter forms skills in computer science, information and communication technologies and industrial computing.

Finally, all this panoply is completed by an agronomic school (ESAMo). Located 6 km from the water temple of Zaghouan, 20 km from the Roman ruins of Tuborbo Majus, the Mograne School of Agriculture trains engineers in rural economy and agricultural production, it provides applied licenses and research and a well-developed research department.

Towards better visibility and integrated campuses:

The University’s strategy for the short term is particularly focused on the search for a better valorisation of the important activities and productions that emanate from the different components and a better visibility of the whole. The first step is to show the university as a complete entity that is clearly visible and well identified. For this, an information system has been put in place. This system is complete, it allows to manage all the establishments in a more efficient way. The two strengths of this system are the time-use platform, which is standardized for all institutions and whose information is instantly available at the university’s headquarters, allowing for better visibility and the calculation and management of the costs. real-time teaching. The second important platform of this information system is the Competency Matrix, which exposes the faculty’s expertise capabilities of the university, which makes it possible to highlight skills and make them visible and available to the needs of society.

The second approach is to create integrated campuses. It is conducted in a parallel way on the different sites. We expose here the project of the University Campus of Carthage, whose idea was issued since 2013 and intended to have on the site of Carthage-Sidi Bou Said, a Campus grouping, in addition to the headquarters of the University four institutions, namely, IPEST, ENICar, ISTEUB, ESSAI and ENAU, a large library, a sports complex, a restaurant and green spaces. This project should extend over an area of ​​11 hectares owned by the Ministry of Higher Education, currently not optimally exploited. It was about first and foremost to restore order in the system of higher education in Tunisia, by setting up university sites that meet the international standards of university campuses.

This project involves several actors and several ministries. With the exception of the Ministry of Guardianship and its various departments, it involves the Ministry of Culture through the National Institute of Heritage, the Ministry of the Interior through the municipalities involved. It is a very difficult project to carry out in the sense that it should extend to a very coveted space. This can explain the incredible resistance encountered. Resistance that after much pressure and insistence was reduced to the argument of preserving a protected land for its heritage value. After many attempts, we arrived at the result that the majority of the land is a green zone. This area could only accommodate two new institutions. It was therefore necessary to choose two out of three. This choice was made by force of circumstances. The school of urban planning and building only finds its meaning when it is joint with the school of architecture and urban planning already established on the site. The School of Engineering of Carthage was imposed by the prowess of its members. The third school could be integrated with another project under study in the Soukra region, linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, which is merged with another engineering school. This solution seems the most reasonable because of the multiplicity and redundancy of engineering training offerings.

Designed by:
Mounir Dhouib: Architect Professor Ed Sia UC
Nadia Daoud: doctoral architect ed sia UC

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