Algeria’s Ministry of Education has warned more than 500 private schools against using the French curriculum, threatening to resort to the judiciary in the event of non-compliance with the decision, which comes in the context of the conflict between the two countries over the history of France’s colonial past in Algeria.
While the Algerian education law stipulates the application of the local curriculum only, an inspection conducted by the ministry highlighted a certain degree of non-compliance, as some schools adopt the French curriculum exclusively, to meet the demands of the parents, who hope to send their children to French universities in the future.
In parallel with this measure, which raises controversy among students and parents alike, the National Center for Distance Education announced that it will stop receiving registration requests for those wishing to sit the French baccalaureate exam, which is held in May of each year.
Pedagogy specialists have pointed to a number of problems faced by baccalaureate holders when they are forced to continue their education in French in many Algerian colleges and universities, in the fields of medicine, engineering, and various sciences.
According to observers, these government decisions reflect the intensifying conflict between the two countries over the history of French colonialism in Algeria. While the Algerians insist that France apologize for the crimes of the occupation, Paris categorically refuses to make such step.
Last year, the Algerian government introduced the teaching of English in the first educational cycle, in preparation for replacing the French language, which has been used as the official language of companies and government agencies since independence in 1962.
In 2021, several ministries started applying Arabic in all their internal correspondence and documents, prohibiting their staff from using a language other than Arabic. This came in response to statements by French President Emmanuel Macron in October 2021, in which he said that Algeria was not a nation before the French occupation in 1830.