Algeria to Replace French Language with English at its Universities

Algeria's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Algeria's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Algeria to Replace French Language with English at its Universities

Algeria's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Algeria's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Algerian authorities have decided to replace the French language with English at universities, starting the new academic year in September.

Last year, they launched procedures to start teaching English, in the first educational stages, to replace French in wake of severe political tensions with Paris.

On July 1, the Ministry of Higher Education’s Secretary-General sent a letter to university directors asking them to organize meetings and form pedagogical teams before the summer vacation to prepare for the adoption of English as the language of instruction in the next academic year.

He confirmed that the National Committee would supervise and follow up on the preparations and will organize field visits to university institutions in July to evaluate their preparations.

Observers tied the decision to new tensions between Algeria and France.

Algeria is monitoring with concern efforts by far-right French lawmakers to annul a 1968 agreement that controls immigration between the two countries. The MPs claim that the deal has not helped limit immigration to France.

Algeria, meanwhile, rejected a French request to take back thousands of its illegal migrants. Paris retaliated by cutting the number of visas issued to Algerians.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was scheduled to visit France in mid-May but the trip was postponed to June and in the end it never transpired. No reason was given.

The cancellation of the visit could be related to the disputes that never end between the two countries.

Algeria was a French colony for 130 years and gained independence in 1962 after a devastating eight-year war. Paris has repeatedly refused to apologize for the occupation, a source of deep contention with Algiers.

In 2021, Algerian government agencies decided to stop using French in their correspondence amid tensions with France.

They decided to begin the adoption of Arabic on November 1, the date of the anniversary of the eruption of the Algerian revolution against French colonialism.

Observers said the move was in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s denial of "the existence of an Algerian nation" before the French invasion of Algeria in 1830.



WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
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WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."