25 February 2013 10:53 am | | 12

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Harlem Shake at Pioneer School of Monastir

Tunisian Minister of Education Abdeltif Abid has launched an investigation into a “Harlem Shake” video that was performed and filmed Saturday in a Tunisian high school, and threatened to take action against what he said was a violation against the educational system.

“This event was allowed by the director of the school, who gave permission to hold such an event without asking permission from the regional director or ministry,” Abid said yesterday in an interview with Mosaique FM. “An investigation will be launched and measures will be taken against any kind of violations.”

Hafedh Mesrati, a teacher from Imam Moslem high school, told Mosaique FM today that a pupil had asked the director whether students could organize the dance, but the director was called away for a family funeral before giving permission.

“When she left the high school on Saturday, there were no pupils inside,” Mesrati said. “On her way to the funeral, the director got a call from the school guard who told her a group of pupils came.”

The director told the students not to do anything until she returned, but they went ahead and filmed the video, Mesrati explained.

Following the viral rise of the Harlem Shake, students at several Tunisian high schools and universities have choreographed their own versions of the dance trend. Although it has been performed at The Pioneer Secondary School of Monastir, Isamm (Higher Institute of Multimedia Arts), and INSAT (National Institute of Applied Sciences and Technologies), the Harlem Shake organized at Imam Moslem sparked controversy. The video was taken off YouTube, although it has subsequently been reposted.

”What happened is an insult to the educational message and whoever contributed will be held responsible,” Abid said.

Facebook users reacted to the minister’s statements by launching a call for a mass Harlem Shake in front of the Ministry of Education this Friday. According to those organizing the event, several Tunisian high schools have witnessed events disruptive to the educational process in recent months, including Salafist meetings held outside a high school at El Mourouj 4 and the replacement of the Tunisian flag with a black flag reading “Al-Shahada” at another school. Yet the Minister of Education did not decide to investigate this incidents, they claimed.

“This is an internal affair that needs to be addressed within the educational board of the school,” Mesrati said, “not an issue to  be politicized.”

He continued, ”this morning, pupils at the Imam Moslem high school refused to enter their classes because they felt offended by the minister’s allegations. We ask the minister to intervene and calm the situation. It is not in the benefit of  the educational system to have the minister triggering tension.”

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Comments (12)

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  1. Samia says:


    This is not light news, I’d view it as hard news. When dancing in schools becomes penalized by the education ministry and when other political and religious practices take place inside and in front of public schools and get placidly condoned by the minster, I’d say this is dangerous and this should be reported about! the media should denounce the minster’s poor performance and reveal his hypocrisy!

  2. Sam says:

    What a stupid subject to report about !!! And it’s not even labeled right , it’s a light news , get educated ….. Your work quality is really hitting the ground ….
    I don’t know how even people read your news and not the guardian …. At least they are accurate ….

  3. v says:

    Just shows how this country is going!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. April Parker says:

    And I suppose smacking students on the hand with a ruler, yelling at students, smoking on school campuses, etc. are accepted practices????? What backwards mentality some people have! This could be used as a way to motivate students, yet, instead, they want them in their seats, in rooms of chalkboards and bare walls, regirgitating the same information from year to year, while parents pay for etude and try to enrich their child’s education at home. Wow.

  5. Nikki says:

    OMG how can a harmless bit of fun be compared to “Salafist meetings” and “Al-Shahada flags”?? Why on earth is the Ministry of Education even involved?

    Education should contain elements of fun, creativity and team work etc yet an organised dance is seen as disruptive? Well done on these students for the dedication to get together and organise this which was outside of school hours.

    The Ministry of Education should be spending there time sorting out its policies, structure to give the best future to the future adults of Tunisia and not these dramas.

  6. Kouichi Shirayanagi says:

    The spirit of the Tunisian Revolution is still alive and well in the Tunisian youth! So happy to see some good news coming out of Tunisia.

    • mark says:

      What a stupid reason to have an investigation…They should be happy to know that the young people still understand and want elements of fun in their lives….Dont these people have more serious issues to respond to. Yet another indication of the path the countries leader are trying to take Tunisia in.

      They need to grow up and realise that the young people need to have fun when all around them they see adults who cant organise anything on their behalf. Abid should take the pole out his backside and join in happy to see the young people’s sense of humour is still intact……dam fool

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