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The republican school has always advocated an egalitarian education for all, an education in equal opportunities is ensured for each student regardless of their social or intellectual level. This is what has enabled most countries, including Tunisia, to reach schooling for all children of school age.
But we begin, as of the end of the 20th Century, to realize that this egalitarian education is no longer adapted to the needs of modern societies for two reasons:
- The advent of the knowledge society (Delors, 2000) which requires more and more elite to promote innovation and development and to face competition, which has become global.
- Studies in school psychology which show that the most gifted pupils are bored in the "ordinary" classes and risk dropping out faster than the "normal" pupils (Brown, 1979).
This is why Tunisia opted in 1984, for the creation of "pilot" high schools, establishments intended to accommodate the most gifted students and providing higher education, due to its educational requirement, than the national average.
This article, dedicated to the critical analysis of the functioning of the training of the school elite in Tunisia, will try to answer the following questions:
How do these pilot schools work and how does the principle of meritocracy reveal themselves?
What psychological problems does this competitive system generate in students?
What problems do the directors of these establishments encounter when managing this training system?
How do the teachers working in these establishments perceive the psycho-pedagogical problems generated by this system, and what solutions do they offer?
It is based on the results of an empirical survey carried out in Tunisian pilot high schools in 2013-2014.
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