Tunisian children will start their first school year since Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's ouster with new textbooks expunged of the former president's state-imposed cult, the education ministry said. "All passages referring to the former president have been removed," ministry spokesman Mohamed Sfar said, two days before two million children are due to return to school. For the first school year to begin since Ben Ali was toppled by a popular uprising in January, no fewer than 370 new textbooks were printed, totalling 12 million copies, according to the transitional administration. "We have decided to remove everything pertaining to the former regime's political masquerade," the national pedagogical centre's publishing head, Belgacem Lassoued, told the daily La Presse. Tunisian schoolbooks were littered with pictures glorifying Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi, hagiographic texts on the country's history and excerpts of presidential speeches to be studied.