60 Years of Higher Education in Algeria: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities

Hosted by the Middle East Centre

Zoom (Online)


Mounir Khaled Berrah

Mounir Khaled Berrah

Ecole Nationale Polytechnique, Algiers

 Hayat Messekher

Hayat Messekher

École Nationale Supérieure de Bouzareah, Algiers

 Mohamed Miliani

Mohamed Miliani

University of Oran

Khaoula Taleb-Ibrahimi

Khaoula Taleb-Ibrahimi

University of Algiers II


Robert Lowe

Robert Lowe

LSE Middle East Centre

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This webinar has been co-organised with the Society for Algerian Studies.

The Algerian Higher Education system has evolved significantly over the past six decades, responding to the changing economic and political contexts of the country.

After inheriting the French colonial education system in the sixties with minor adjustments, the seventies saw a democratisation of the space. During the eighties, the role of the single national party was affirmed with a marked Arabization of the social sciences and the establishment of several universities across the country. But from the eighties onwards, there was also a loss of autonomy and independence of the university, with increased centralisation of management by the Ministry of Higher Education, and academic leadership positions being filled by administrators. As a result, scientific research, creative innovation, and emergence of new ideas at all levels declined significantly. This loss of autonomy resulted in the migration of academics and graduates abroad. Today, the Algerian higher education system has over 1.7 million students and over 130 Higher Education Institutions, compared to 55,000 students in 1980 and 3000 in 1963, and less than 10 Higher Education Institutions in 1963. 

This webinar will discuss current challenges and future opportunities across the higher education system in Algeria, with an emphasis on its historical background, evolution, and broader societal role since independence.

Mounir Khaled Berrah is a professor and author with interests in higher education, research development and innovation systems, international cooperation in science, technology and innovation, statistical information systems and digital transition. Berrah was Director of the Ecole Nationale Polytechnique in Algeria from 1997 - 2005. He was also Director General of the National Statistics Office in Algeria from 2009 - 2020. From April to June 2020, Berrah was Secretary General of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Algeria, and Minister of Digitalization and Statistics from 2020 - 2021. Berrah was a member of the Steering Committee of the African Union/New Partnership for Africa's Development (AU/NEPAD) in science and technology from 2003 to 2008. He was also Chair of the Intergovernmental Committee on science, technology and innovation within the African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators Initiative (AU/NEPAD) in 2007.

Hayat Messekher is Professor of English at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Bouzaréah (Algiers) where she teaches pre-service teacher-trainees. She previously served as Head of the English Department. She also serves as a Consultant for British Council Algeria where she manages the portfolio of education and society programmes. Hayat holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and ELT from the University of Constantine (Algeria) and a Ph.D. in English Composition and TESOL from Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a Fulbright Scholar. Her research interests include teacher education, TEFL/TESOL, second language writing and critical pedagogy. She recently co-authored a book chapter with Mohamed Miliani on The Language Situation of Twenty-First-Century Algeria: Navigating the ideology.

Mohamed Miliani is Professor of English at the University of Oran 2, Algeria. He specialises in education, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), and English for Specific Purposes (ESP). His research interests include sociolinguistics; education/training; TEFL and languages in education. He is research project lead in university ethics at the Centre for Research in Cultural and Social Anthroplogy (CRASC). He also serves as president of the Algerian Technical Committee for Education (UNESCO-Algeria). He is Associate Fellow at Euro-Med Centre for Educational Research and the Laboratory of Research on Practical and Applied Philosophy, University of the Aegean. Miliani's most recently published "Educational leadership in Algeria: a decisive factor in the 2004 higher education reform" in Enacting and conceptualizing educational leadership within the Mediterranean region (2021).

Khaoula Taleb-Ibrahimi is Professor of Sciences of Languages and Director of the Linguistics, Sociolinguistics and Didactics of Languages (LISODIL) Research Laboratory at the University of Algiers II. Taleb-Ibrahimi defended and obtained her PhD on the sciences of languages at the University of Grenoble, France in 1991. She has taught linguistics, didactics, discourse analysis, language policy, textual linguistics and sociolinguistics. Taleb-Ibrahimi has published many books and articles in Algeria, France, Morocco, Tunisia and Italy. Some of her publications include: Les Algériens et leur(s) langue(s), Eléments pour une approche sociolinguistique de la société algérienne (Dar El Hikma, Alger, 1995); “Quelques considérations sur la politique linguistique en Algérie” in Mondialisation et Enjeux Linguistiques: Quelles langues pour le marché du travail en Algérie? (CREAD, Alger, 2001); "L’école algérienne au prisme des langues de scolarisation" in Revue Internationale d’Education (numéro 70, Sèvres, CEIP, 2015).

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