Index / Education
The educational system of Algeria is mostly of good quality, corresponding to Western patterns form primary education until universities. The system inherited from the French era was one of many limitations, most importantly it reached only a small part of the society. Since independence in 1962, a process of Arabization has been acted out, aiming at promoting national values and language, but this has happened very much at the cost of the large Berber minority.
The present system still largely continues according to the patterns laid down during the French administration, but the scope as been greatly extended. In 1971, the compulsory period of nine years of education was introduced. In 1976 all private schools were abolished. In 1991, Arabic was mandated being used at all levels of education. Since 2003, Berber has been permitted as a teaching language in schools. In 2004, private schools were again permitted, but there are today very few private schools.
Expenditure on education was estimated at 5.1% of GDP in 1999.
Facing the high levels of illiteracy, the government continues to promote adult literacy classes. Illiteracy has been considerably reduced in recent decades, but every third Algerian still cannot read or write properly.
School is free and by law compulsory for all children from they are 6 or 7 years old, then continuing through 9 years of schooling. Yet, ca. 9% of girls and 3% of boys do not attend primary school. Drop out rates are dramatically higher for secondary school, where about half do not attend. Algeria has the problem of shortage of teachers, as the numbers of school children have risen dramatically over recent years, parallel to insufficient government programs to educate more teachers.
Average school day is between 5.5 and 6.5 hours.
There is a great focus on Arabic and Mathematics, the first 3 years, every second teaching hour is devoted to Arabic. In 1992, English was introduced as foreign language alongside French, but pupils choose just one of the two. Education in foreign language begins in the 4th grade.
Public schools operate jointly under the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Religious Affairs: Islam is a required part of the curriculum, but only with 2 hours a week for young pupils, 1 hour from 7th grade and on.
Secondary education is 3 years, concluding in the baccalauréat degree. Students follow either one of two directions: technical and vocational; or general and specialized. Achieving the baccalauréat is from final national exams only. Students must take a general exam in every subject studied, and earn a combined average of at least 50% to pass. Failure here is high, about only 1 of 3 succeed, the rest go on to a second examination round, where only 5-10% succeed. In total, less than half of those completing secondary school manage to obtain their baccalauréat.
Algeria now has 47 universities and university centres, figures rise continuously. There are also 17 other institutions of higher education. Some confusion exists to the total number, figures of 130 such institutions are sometimes given, but these are not correct.
Universities in Algeria have gone through a reform of bringing the composition of degrees into accordance with American and European standards: 3 year bachelor and a 2 year master.
Webometrics places Algerian universities low in world rankings, Abou Bakr Belkaïd University, Tlemcen comes out national best, no. 4132 in the world, with University of Batna, Batna national second, being no. 5559 in the world.