Ut the time of independence, Algerian schools were based on the French system and most teachers came from France. French was the language of instruction and Arabic was offered as a second language. After independence, the government redesigned the system to promote Arab and Berber culture. Programs were created to combat illiteracy. The literacy level was 10% in 1962, but by 1990, it exceeded 50%.

In the 1970s, the government took control of all schools and abolished private schools. It became compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15 to attend school. Today, most teachers are Algerians. Arabic is compulsory during the first nine years of instruction. French is introduced in the third year and it is the usual language of instruction for advanced mathematics and science. Students may also learn other languages, such as English, Spanish or Italian.

Schooling is free from grade one to university. After nine years of elementary school, students may go on to a lycée (secondary school), or enter the vocational school system. At the lycées, there are two programs: general and technical. At the end of the third year of lycée, students take an examination to qualify for a general or technical baccalaureat. Passing the baccalaureat allows students to go on to higher education. The vocational school system offers five-year apprenticeship programs to meet the demands of industry and agriculture.

   Did you know?

At the age of 18, Algerian men are required to do military service for a year and a half.

Because about 60% of all Algerians are under the age of 20, resources for education are stretched to the limit. Some schools operate in shifts: one group of students attends in the morning, another in the afternoon. Providing education to children in remote areas is also a problem for the Algerian government.

The largest Algerian universities are the University of Algiers, the University of Oran, the University of Constantine, and the University of Science and Technology of Oran.

   Did you know?

In the early 20th century, French and Algerian children were educated in separate schools. This segregated system was abolished in 1949.