03/02/06 -- Algeria Journal -- The Algerian government has acted on its threat: since February 25, 42 private schools located mostly in Algiers and in the Kabylie have been closed, sometimes with the help of the police. The motive: the private schools had refused to submit to the strict curricular and pedagogical requirements of the national education program.
The threat had been in the air since April 2005. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, defining a conflict that had lasted for two years, commanded all private establishments to follow the national program under penalty of being closed down. He insisted that the schools teach Arabic, a language that many schools had dispensed with, especially in the Kabylie.
Seventy-five schools chose to follow the regulations, which allowed them to be accredited by government education authorities. But 42 recalcitrant schools persisted in "ignoring the law" and were sanctioned. The measure of closing the schools was taken fully in the middle of the school year(...).
Between 4,000 and 5,000 students found themselves as a result obliged to quickly find a seat in a public school. According to the minister of education, arrangements were made for all such students. (...)
The movement of thousands of students into the public system will not be without problems. A number of such students have studied for years in schools in which French was the language of instruction. National education officials says that these students will be served by an "adaptation program."
Such promises do not reassure the parents. For them, the government is attacking the future educational prospects of their children for ideological reasons. They do not understand this abrupt severity on the part of the government when private schools were tolerated, and indeed tacitly encouraged, for years.
It is part of the desire of the government to reassert control over all areas and to quietly affirm the reestablishment of its authority over the country. The schools will not escape. They will all be forced, without exception, to submit to general policy and to use the language of instruction of Algerian public schools: Arabic.
Here are a few quotes translated from a story originally run by LE MONDE: