Higher education in Algeria


The higher education system in Algeria

Recent policy updates, major reforms and related news

Erasmus+ projects in Algeria

Relevant Links


The higher education system in Algeria

The constitution of Algeria in the article 53 stipulates that the State is the organizer of the education system, the right of free education is guaranteed for all Algerians, and thus basic education is compulsory.

The government minister is the authority who prepares and implements the policies on higher education and the scientific research. The executive decree of 29th of August 2003 modified by the executive decree of 27th of September 2007 regulates the organization and the functioning of the higher education institutions. The Higher Education Orientation Act of 23 February 2008 has established the three higher education degree cycles applied to all disciplines except medicine. 

Algeria has quite a large array of university types going from universities to schools, to ‘écoles normales’ and ‘écoles supérieures’. The Algerian university consists of universities defined as social, cultural and professional public establishments. The university sector comes right after compulsory education that takes place until the age of 16 offering different types of training to all baccalaureate-holders. From 3 university establishments in 1962, year of Independence, with only 2000 students and less than 200 teachers, the sector grew in 2015 to 107 HE establishments, and one and a half million students, of which 60% are female, and 54,000 teachers.

There have been two main reforms of the sector: the 1971 Reform that changed the structure of the universities from institutes to faculties, and recently the LMD reform that started in 2004 and was finalized in 2010. The introduction of the reform meant the change of the degree system into a ‘licence’ degree (the Algerian equivalent of B.A in 2004, reduced from 4 to 3 years of study), the master’s degree (launched in 2007, replacing the Magister degree) and the doctorate (2009). The training curricula were also adapted in order to teach and learn differently. In addition to universities, higher education includes also university centres (composed of institutes) and out-of-university schools, namely institutes of sciences and applied technology (providing 40% of academic training and 60% of professional training within the industrial environment), higher national schools (comprising 6 preparatory classes, preparing entry to Ecoles Nationale Supérieures) and the higher educational schools (11 écoles normales supérieures, ENS, that train teachers for primary, middle and secondary school, specializing in languages, history/geography, sciences, philosophy, music and natural sciences). As far as the curricula are concerned they are designed along 13 domains, namely law, sciences and technology, social sciences, foreign letters and  languages, Arabic language and literature, material sciences, mathematics and informatics, natural and life sciences, sciences of earth and the universe, sciences of economics, management and commerce, arts, Amazigh (Berber) language and culture. All these domains are divided into branches. Medical (postgraduate studies in 50 specialities in medicine, 8 in pharmacy and 7 in dentistry) and veterinary sciences are offered by a good number of faculties and institutes on the whole Algerian territory. In addition, the University of continuing education (Université de la Formation Continue UFC) created in 1990 is a unique as such in the Maghreb dedicated to lifelong learning enabling the non-holders of Baccalaureate to reach university and get their diploma.


Recent policy updates, major reforms and related news

The most recent policy update is the so-called LMD launched in 2004. The need for change has come from a high number of dysfunctions that have prevented the university from providing more adequate learning conditions.  The idea was to provide the university with the proper pedagogical and didactic means in order to meet the society’s expectations while integrating the international system of higher education. The Algerian university needed a global and thorough reform the LMD aimed at bringing. What was also aimed at was quality education, the satisfaction of the needs of the socioeconomic environment and the adaptation to professions that are continuing to evolve in a world of expanding technological solutions to societal problems.

The LMD reform has come to help universities face globalization and the internationalisation of higher education. Furthermore, the other concern was to offer better training in order to satisfy the societal demand for quality education. The recurrent problem has always been that of the employability of degree-holders who very often ended up unemployed. Another aim was to insure the best governance possible in order to relieve universities from too strong bureaucracies. Hence the work of the CIAQES (Committee in charge of the implementation of Quality Assurance in HEIs) aimed at providing the educational institutions with a clear guide in order to better meet the needs of students (in their studies and future jobs).

The update was done with a view to bring all stakeholders closer together (the socioeconomic environment, the employers, the parents…). One of the key issues was that the labour market has not always considered that universities help students get jobs after completion of their studies. Job descriptions have always been missing in the traditional degrees, something the new system has tried to remedy by rendering the training of students more flexible, competency-based and relying on national as well as international cooperation. The result of such a policy is the professionalization of curricula giving more room to subjects that are directly linked to a given profession or job. This has allowed all university establishments to offer academic and professional degrees.

The idea behind such an enterprise is to make the training more visible to potential employers, and degrees that are better valued socially and in workplaces.

Pedagogically speaking, the implementation of such a reform meant that training is highly student-centred (their learning needs, profiles and even wishes). This change has even brought in the notion of ‘andragogy’ to mean that teachers have to change their vision of their students as adolescents rather than adults. The change concerns also the introduction of the credit system that provides more flexibility and which has to be translated into new ways of teaching and new ways of learning expressed in terms of performances realized by the student. This new approach to teaching has brought to the fore the notion of learning outcomes (translated in terms of knowledge, competences, skills and attitudes). The change follows the competency-based approach to teaching/learning already introduced in national education.

The implementation of the LMD system in the Algerian universities meant also a change in the evaluation techniques. The main shift is the change from the summative to the formative assessment. Formative assessment corresponds more to the learner-centredness that is at the heart of the reform. The learner is then less of a spectator. The consecrated term is autonomy, of action, thought and practice. 


Erasmus+ projects in Algeria

Tempus Program (2002- 2013):

Algerian Higher Education Institutions has submitted projects proposals through the different call for proposals and have benefited of a total of 56 projects in the calls of proposals: 24 projects in Tempus III and 32 in Tempus IV. Tempus III records 16 Joint Projects and 8 Structural Measures projects. As for Tempus IV it consisted of 26 Joint Projects and 6 Structural Measures projects.

Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) projects under Erasmus+ program:

Capacity Building projects focus on building capacities and modernizing Higher Education Institutions in Partner Countries to establish structural and a long-lasting impact. Algerian HEIs partake as partners.

In 2015, Algerian HEIs have participated in 4 Capacity Building projects:

  • MAGIC: Regional Phd School Based on Innovative Hydroplatform in Water an Environment to Enhance Maghreb Inter-research Centres. This project revolved around the Curriculum Development
  • SMWELD: South Mediterranean Welding Center for education, Training and Quality Control. This project aims at strengthening relations of HEIs with society.
  • RISE: Modernizing Human Resource Management in South Mediterranean Higher Education. This project aims at the modernization of HEIs governance.
  • COFFEE : Construction d’une Offre de Formation à Finalité d’Employabilité Elevée. This Project focusses on strengthening relations of HE system.

In 2016, Algerian HEIs have participated in:

  • PROEMED: boosting Environment Protection and Energy Efficient Buildings in Mediterranean Region.
  • AFREQEN : Qualité en enseignement supérieur pour les énergies renouvelables en Afrique du Nord et de l’Ouest.
  • MERIC-Net: Mediterranean Network of National Information Centres on the Recognition of Qualifications.
  • INSTART: Euro-African Network of excellence for entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • SATELIT : Solutions Académiques pour le Territoire Euro- méditerranéen Leader d’Innovation et transferts technologiques d’excellence.
  • DIRE-MED : Dialogue Interculturel, Réseaux et mobilité en Méditerranée.


Relevant Links 

Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research: https://www.mesrs.dz/

Universities and HEIs of Algeria: https://www.mesrs.dz/universites

Reforms of the HE system: https://www.mesrs.dz/reforme-des-enseignants

LMD system in Algeria: https://www.mesrs.dz/le-systeme-lmd

National Erasmus+ Office in Algeria: www.erasmusplus.dz

EU Delegation in Algiers: https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/algeria_fr