Algeria’s Ministry of Education has warned more than 500 private schools not to use the French curriculum, threatening legal action for non-compliance in what is the latest episode of rising tensions with France over its colonial past in Algeria.
Although the Algerian education law only provides for the use of the local curriculum, an inspection carried out by the ministry revealed a certain level of non-compliance, as some schools exclusively adopt the curriculum in French, to satisfy the demands of parents, who hope to send their children to French universities in the future.
Following this move, which created controversy among students and parents, the National Center for Distance Education announced that it will stop accepting registration applications for those who want to take the French baccalaureate exam, held in May each year. .
The pedagogues pointed out a series of problems faced by high school graduates when they were forced to continue their studies in French in many Algerian schools and universities, in the fields of medicine, engineering and various sciences.
The government’s latest decisions reflect the intensification of tension between the two countries throughout the history of French colonialism in Algeria. While the Algerians insisted that France apologize for the crimes of the occupation, Paris absolutely refused to take that step.
Arabic and English to replace French
Last year, the Algerian government introduced the teaching of English in the first cycle of education, in preparation to replace French, which has been used as the official language of companies and government agencies since independence in 1962.
In 2021, many ministries began implementing Arabic in all their correspondence and internal documents, prohibiting their staff from using a language other than Arabic. This happened in response to the statements of French President Emmanuel Macron in October 2021, where he said that Algeria was not a country before the French conquest in 1830.