Children in Algeria begin compulsory nine-year primary school at the age of six. Almost all children go for the first five years and most continue to the next four-year stage, but many go to classes and some drop out completely. Maybe a third do not complete primary school.
After elementary school, a voluntary three-year high school follows.
Classes are often large due to lack of school premises. There is also a dearth of books and educated teachers. During the Civil War in the 1990s (see Modern History) many teachers were murdered and many school buildings were destroyed. Thousands of teachers left higher education because of murder threats.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Algeria, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Teaching is mainly in Arabic. Initially, children often do not understand the standard Arabic in which the teaching takes place, as it differs markedly from the spoken dialects (see Population and Language).
Barbarian, in the form of tamazight, gained status as one of the country’s official languages in 2016. Only a small proportion of the children have had access to education in the language, but the proportion has increased significantly and the change of law has opened up for further improvements. Among other things, they have worked to establish a Berber language academy.
Prior to independence in 1962, the educational system was dominated by French culture and French was the main language. When France left Algeria, most teachers disappeared. A new school system was built with domestic resources.
The training was broadened and Arabized with the help of teachers from other Arab countries, mainly Egypt. Compulsory, toll-free and Arabic-language elementary schools were introduced. At the same time, all private schools were abolished, often run by Catholic missionaries.
In practice, there are three different writing systems in use, which the schools would also have to teach: the Arabic alphabet, the Latin one used mainly for French and Berber writing, which is completely different from the others.
Before independence, there was only one university in Algeria, founded in Algeria in 1879. Today, the country has around 25 universities and a wide range of colleges and technical institutes. Constantine has a large Islamic university. Arabic also dominates in higher education, but teaching is also available in both French and English. You can also study Berberian at several universities. More than half of the college students are women today. Many young Algerians study abroad, mainly in France.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
97.5 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
75.1 percent (2008)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
11.4 percent (2008)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
11.4 percent (2008)
Local and regional elections are held
Dozens of parties and four electoral unions participate in elections involving seats in the 48 provinces and over 1,500 municipalities. The ruling FLN and its allied RND are the only parties in the country. President Bouteflika makes one of his rare public appearances when voting in a general election in Algeria.
The President is questioned
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is no longer in a position to lead the country and should not be allowed to stand for a fifth term in 2019, writes three prominent Algerians in a joint statement. Bouteflika, who has been at the post since 1999, is 80 years old and has health problems.
New printing of banknotes should reduce the budget deficit
The government is proposing a program to reduce the budget deficit, which has increased as a result of the fall in prices for the country’s most important export product oil. The plan does not include any tax increases, but rather involves the central bank printing more money, which is then lent directly to the central government to cover the deficit. According to international analysts, this reform is likely to lead to inflation and thus the risk of social unrest.
Campaign against religious minority
The leader of the religious minority ahmadiya is sentenced to six months’ conditional imprisonment for blaspheming Islam. Ahmadiya is a revival movement sprung from Islam but labeled as non-Muslim by most other Muslims, including the Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC). Since 2016, a campaign against ahmadiya by the authorities is ongoing, according to the French news agency AFP, which reports that almost 300 of the country’s around 2,000 ahmadiya supporters have been arrested.
New Prime Minister again
President Bouteflika kicks Prime Minister Tebboune and appoints RND leader Ahmed Ouyahia as replacement. No reason is given as to why Tebboune may leave after just under three months is not stated, but according to analysts, a power struggle within the president’s immediate circle may be the cause. Ouyahia has been head of government several times before.
African refugees must obtain a residence permit
Prime Minister Tebboune announces that African migrants who live in Algeria without valid documents must obtain work and residence permits. Approximately 100,000 African refugees are estimated to be in Algeria, on their way to Libya and then the EU.
New Prime Minister is appointed
Bouteflika surprisingly appoints a new head of government, instead of Abdelmalek Sellal. Former Housing Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune becomes new Prime Minister.
Accusations of cheating
The leading Islamic Alliance accuses the government of cheating, harassment and violence against the followers of the Islamist Alliance. MSP leader Abderrazak Makri claims that the Islamists would have won if cheating had not occurred.
Government victory in parliamentary elections
When the parliamentary elections are held, as expected, the FLN and the allied RND win a clear majority, together they receive 261 of the 462 seats. The Islamist alliance between MSP and Front for Change comes in third place with 33 seats. In total, Islamist parties receive 67 seats. The turnout is 38 percent.
The electoral movement begins
The public’s interest is cool when the electoral movement starts before the election. The election is the first held since the constitution was amended in 2016 and Parliament’s power was at least strengthened on paper. Fifteen parties and two independent lists have registered for the election.
Islamist parties gather before the parliamentary elections
Islamic parties form alliances to try to invite the FLN government’s opposition to the May elections. The Justice and Development Front (FJD), Ennahda and El Binaa stated in December that they are doing the same thing in the elections, and the Social Movement for Peace (MSP) has now merged with the outbreak group Front for Change. Thus, there are now two Islamist groups in the election.