PURPOSE To evaluate the characteristics of astigmatism in a cross-sectional study of schoolchildren in Tunisia. MATERIALS AND METHODS A random cluster design was used to recruit children from primary schools across urban and rural settings in Tunisia, from 2008 to 2010. A total of 6192 students aged 6-14-years old were enrolled. All students whose uncorrected visual acuity was worse than 20/20 underwent a complete ophthalmic examination. Astigmatism was defined as the cylinder power of 0.75 diopter (D) or greater. RESULTS The prevalence of astigmatism was 6.67%. Mean cylinder power was - 1.89 ± 0.79D. The prevalence of astigmatism increased statistically significantly with age (P = 0.032). The prevalence of astigmatism was not significantly related to gender (P = 0.051). Of those with cylinder, 63.6%, 17.8%, and 18.6% schoolchildren had with with-the-rule, against-the-rule, and oblique astigmatism, respectively. ATR astigmatism was significantly higher in males (P = 0.033). There was no significant association between the student's area of residence and astigmatism (P = 0.059). CONCLUSION Comparisons with other studies show that the prevalence of astigmatism in Tunisia is higher than in some countries. The prevalence of astigmatism increased with age but not gender. The majority of schoolchildren had with-the-rule astigmatism.